Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pennsylvania Gets in the Solar Game

Pennsylvania's new solar rebate program is now open for business.

Here's a link the article from the Philadelphia Inquirer:


"Rebates of up to 35 percent are available on a first-come, first-served basis to owners of homes and small businesses looking to offset the cost of buying and installing solar-energy systems."

"... the new state rebate, along with federal tax credits of up to 30 percent, would enable Pennsylvanians to get as much as a 50 percent break on the cost of a solar-energy system."

"The price of an average 5-kilowatt residential unit is $35,000 to $40,000. Experts say that investment will be recouped in eight to 10 years - through reduced energy costs and from selling unused power into the grid and alternative energy credits to utilities."

"Another impetus to going solar now, Rendell said, is the likely event of double-digit rate increases by utilities when state caps are lifted in 2011."

"Saying it was 'embarrassing' that New Jersey and Maryland had instituted solar financial-aid programs long before Pennsylvania, Rundgren said: 'It's about time . . . the state is going to start putting its foot in the water.'"


To some, a government program to encourage development of solar technology is a boondoggle and a monument to government waste. As somebody who worries about bloated government I can see their points. However, this isn't exactly like "The bridge to nowhere" or a grant to fund research on the favorite colors of various sea creatures. This is more like investment in the Apollo program in the sixties. It might encourage development of technology that will be beneficial in ways we don't even know about. It will create high-tech jobs immediately. If small solar production projects proliferate it will negate the need for at least some investment in construction of the conventional power plants that will no doubt be needed to meet the growing need for power in our country.

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