Originally published August 7 2004
California leading the way with plan to add solar power to 1 million homes
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
California is once again leading the way in renewable energy and solar power by offering a plan that would add solar power to 1 million homes in California over the next 10 years. The plan, backed by the California Environmental Protection Agency and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is designed to reduce the state's dependence on outside sources of electricity, while also demonstrating that solar powered homes can be economically feasible in the long run.
This is a fantastic proposal by the state of California, and if successful, it will demonstrate to the rest of the United States, and even other countries, that solar power is a very smart way to reduce any state's dependence on outside sources of electricity. It's good for the environment, it's good for the economy, and it's good for security.
As new technological breakthroughs emerge in solar power, this sort of plan will be even easier to implement across the country and around the world. Solar cells are getting cheaper, thanks to breakthroughs in manufacturing processes, and the efficiency of solar cells is similarly increasing. The result will be far more affordable solar material that will have high efficiency, long life and greatly reduced upfront costs.
California is proposing to add solar power to a million homes in the next 10 years, paid for by a surcharge on consumers' electricity bills equivalent to about 15 pence a month.
- The plan, proposed by the California Environmental Protection Agency, is intended to honour the election pledge of California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to ensure that half of all new homes in the state are built with solar power facilities.
- The surcharge would raise $1bn (about £570m) in 10 years for the installation programme, with the state using the money to give rebates to home builders who install solar panels on new homes, and incentives for installing panels on existing homes.
- Homeowners would be able to reduce their power bills and even make money by selling "unused" solar energy back to the electricity companies via two-way meters.
- Tim Coyle, the senior vice president of the California Building Industry Association, said home solar systems could cost from $17,000-20,000 (£9,714-£11,428) and did not pay for themselves as customers would typically pay $120 a month to repay the purchase price and receive about $70 in "returns" in electricity generated.
- According to the draft plan, presented by Drew Bohan, under-secretary of the EPA, "each month the homeowner will save more money in reduced electricity charges than [will be paid] on the solar mortgage".
- Ms Del Chiaro said: "My hope is the governor comes out even stronger by increasing the incentives and mandates, and applying the requirements to commercial buildings as well.
- The building industry opposes the solar homes bill but said the proposed incentives were the way to encourage technological and economic improvements that will make widespread use of solar energy more realistic.
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