Many cities and states give citizens large grants to bear
some of the capital brunt of buying solar panels. These grants are in
essence a big tax break as the consumer will typically make a good deal of
money of the solar panels in their lifetime. They are the alternative
energy version of the business world's small business grants.
This Tuesday, San Francisco looked to keep the good times rolling and put some
green back its citizens' pockets with the approval of a massive
new grant campaign. Solar panel manufacturers and installers received
the news with giddy anticipation and are preparing for the new boom.
For the next ten years, citizens can get $3,000 to $6,000 in a one-time grant
to install panels. Both businesses and charities are also receiving some
solar love. Businesses and nonprofits can get $10,000 grants, while
nonprofit affordable housing can get up to a whopping $30,000. Mayor
Gavin Newsom states, "This rebate program further establishes San
Francisco as America's solar energy leader and symbolizes the commitment of the
city to make affordable solar power available to those who want it."
The mayor says the program should launch this July and will only cost the city
$3 million yearly. He says the benefits are far reaching and go beyond
just putting money back in the hands of consumers and businesses in energy cost
savings. Newsom says the program will attract businesses and will grow
If San Francisco can really pull of the green transformation it will be a
significant accomplishment. In the green-savvy California, San Francisco
has traditionally been somewhat of a laughing stock of the alternative energy
community. The city was ranked last in the Bay Area by a recent
assessment by the San Francisco Solar Task Force. Of the city's 195,000
rooftops, only 744 had solar panels, less than 1 percent.
The mayor hopes that the new efforts will panel nearly 10,000 rooftops over the
decade, or roughly 5 percent of the city's rooftops. If successful, this
would produce around 50 MW of power.
Lyndon Rive, CEO of installer SolarCity, whom DailyTech recently
reported on, is thrilled by the effort. He anticipates the number of
panels tripling and as the city's largest solar installer; he's in prime
position for success. With 40 current employees his company is expanding
with a "green" job training initiative in a low-income part of the
city. Rive complements the new program stating, "It's simple, easy
to understand, and easy to implement."
While his company offered solar leasing, he acknowledges that this strategy was
not as cost effective and that most citizens couldn't afford it. Now
between city, state, and federal tax credits, rebates, and grants, an average
consumer who would have paid $30,000 for panels can pay a mere $6,000.
Kevin Gage, sales director for San Diego-based installer Borrego Solar states,
"This is just gonna spur the industry. The market was essentially
shut down in San Francisco. Now a lot of companies like ours are gonna move
into San Francisco."
Ironically the approval was announced the same day San Francisco utility
Pacific Gas & Electric announced a 6.5 percent electricity rate hiking on
surging fossil fuel costs. San Franciscan Sylvia Ventura is excited about
the relief the move may provide her fellow citizens, but she's a bit fearful
that the myriad of installers will confuse them. She states, "This
business was done for a long time in the shadows and some installers took
advantage of people being intimidated by the data, not understanding metering,
wattage, and what to pay."
She and her husband Dan Barahona launched a new effort, One Block Off The Grid,
which aims to use collective bargaining and other subsidies to further reduce
the cost of the panels to an attractive price of "free". She
says that the first 50 homeowners that sign up for the program will receive
panels free of cost, thanks to the effort's clever negotiating. However,
corporate partners are still in the process of being secured and the list is
currently only half full.
Whether the new grant program is a glowing success or just a modest one, at the
end of the day its putting money back in the hands of the hardworking tax
payer. With rising
energy and food costs, the consumer in San Francisco will finally get to
see some light.
quote: Fisson is a terrible idea unless we find some way of disposing of it's waste-and so far we've found none.
quote: Fisson is a terrible idea unless we find some way of disposing of it's waste-and so far we've found none. Now if they get fussion working well enough that it's generating power
quote: And I'm completely baffled by these comments. How is reducing the amount of energy you have to use by switching some of it to solar a bad thing?
quote: The waste is completely disposable if we choose to. You can store it indefinitely (as we do now), bury it (as we will eventually), or you can reprocess it (as we should).
quote: Reprocessed waste has a half-life of ~100 years, at which point it can safely be disposed of.
quote: Fisson is a terrible idea
quote: Roof-top solar solutions are NOT going to be enough to power a whole city, under any circumstance. It can augment the power grid, sure, but never will it be the sole provider of power.
quote: nuclear plants are not renewable
quote: then its quite obvious you aren't looking for a real solution.
quote: In reality, this will only help the fairly wealthy. Because the average person can't afford a solar system even with a $6,000 subsidy. You're still looking at $10,000-20,000 out of pocket.
quote: To be fair, the people living in San Francisco aren't the typical American family.
quote: At any rate, our government subsides OIL now-so what's wrong with subsidizing something we should actually be moving to?
quote: Then prove your the above statement with data from credible sources.
quote: Secondly, the point about corporate tax rates is meaningless.
quote: the table below shows that Exxon paid or remitted $20 billion in various sales taxes, excise taxes, severance taxes, and property taxes. This brings the total amount of taxes the company paid or remitted to $29.3 billion, nearly three times the net profits it earned for shareholders.The financial statements of two other large U.S.-based oil companies, ConocoPhillips and ChevronTexaco, show similar large tax payments. Indeed, these three companies paid or remitted a combined $47.8 billion in taxes in the first quarter of 2008, nearly $28 billion more than they earned in net profits ...
quote: While I'm a conservative at heart, I think this idea is great.
quote: San Francisco is looking to get off the grid and save money with a vast solar push
quote: Untrue. Both solar and wind commercial power plants have availability factors that average 30% in highly-suitable areas, lower in others. That means even without any overlap whatsoever, one would only expect a maximum of 60% coverage.
quote: But why go through that damage at all, when one can generate 25 times the power in 1/100 the space, with a nuclear power plant?
quote: As for the costs, as we both mention, nobody knows the final costs of decommisioning, it is a cost that is therefore buried by nuclear proponents as deep as they would like to bury the waste.
quote: The more successful it is, the higher the tax increases will have to be. So it's not really a subsidy, it's a tax hike in exchange for a solar panel on your roof.
quote: You nailed it. This also doesn't account for the problem of lifespan on these things. What to do with all the old damaged solar panels.
quote: It means more money in our collective pockets and less money for lobbyists/special interest groups/oil cartels/etc.
quote: it seems like the best place to test the longer term effects that grants like these can have.
quote: ...as cloudy Germany is driving up costs of solar panels in comparatively sunny Vegas.
quote: ...and they're responsible many believe...