Friday, June 5, 2009

SOLAR ENERGY CASE STUDY - Federal Solar Tax Credits: HR 1424, a Bailout For the Rest of Us?

DIMONA, ISRAEL - JUNE12:    A worker looks at ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Federal Solar Tax Credits - HR 1424, a Bailout For the Rest of Us? by Jon Whitehead

Ever feel a little left out when it comes to the recent financial bailouts? Well don't despair, because as part of the Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 or HR1424 as it is otherwise known is a provision that may actually help out Joe public. Yes, that's correct, government money going to people who did not have anything to do with the recent economic meltdown. Amazing.

The bill, passed in October of 2008, removed the federal solar tax credit cap of $2000 and replaced it with a 30%, no limit incentive. This obviously will make a big difference in costs, considering that complete solar systems can easily run into the 10's of thousands of dollars.

The hope is that this new law will have the same or greater effect than when the previous federal solar tax credit was introduced in 2005. This took the solar industry from workshops and garages to full scale manufacturing with installations doubling in number between 2006 and 2007.

As solar power has become more and more profitable and viable, the money for research and development has led to better efficiencies in solar cells which are now twice as efficient as they were 10 years ago. New developments using multi-junction solar cell technology developed by NASA has created panels less than 40 inches square capable of providing all the power necessary for a regular single family home. Availability of these products in the future will only accelerate the growth of the solar industry.

The ability to harness the power of our greatest, never ending, non-polluting and most importantly free energy source has the potential to change over 100 years of dependence on fossil fuels and take us in a new direction. The simplicity of this technology and the fact that it can generate usable power on site without involving miles of transmission lines enables it to be a realistic option to provide electricity to remote areas and in particular, the third world.

Currently this new federal solar tax credit is set to expire in 2016 which gives everyone plenty of time to join the party, drop off the grid and have the power companies crying in their beer.

If having a roof full of solar panels sounds great but is still out of reach financially do what I did and build your own.

Here is more information on the Solar Power Guide I used.

For more information on Solar, Wind and other energy saving ideas you can visit

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