Saturday, January 31, 2009

Solar Power Booming

In what is very good news, the installation of solar power panels on roofs is booming, according to this article from the Los Angeles Times.

In today’s uncertain investment market, this could be a very good investment for the future.

An excerpt.

“Despite a credit freeze that's stunting renewable-energy projects throughout the country, 2008 was a hot year for solar power in California.

“Encouraged by state rebates, Golden State residents and businesses last year installed a record 158 megawatts of photovoltaic panels on their rooftops to turn the sun's rays into electricity, the California Public Utilities Commission said Wednesday. That's more than double the 78 megawatts installed in 2007.

“Residential demand appears to be hanging tough in the face of the shaky economy. December saw the largest volume of homeowner rebate requests since the state launched the California Solar Initiative program two years ago.

"I'm encouraged to see that even in these difficult financial times we are breaking solar installation records and spurring private investment in solar projects," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement. Launched in January 2007, the California Solar Initiative is an attempt to push photovoltaics on a mass scale in California to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and shore up the state's energy supply.

“Funded by utility ratepayers, the program offers rebates to those who install panels on their homes and businesses. Refunds are typically 20% to 50% of a system's cost.

“Solar modules would seem a luxury in the current dismal economy. But experts said new federal tax breaks, on top of already generous state incentives, are encouraging some Californians to take the plunge. As of Jan. 1, homeowners are eligible for tax credits of up to 30% of the entire cost of their projects.

“Those benefits had previously been capped at $2,000 per system.

“Others have concluded that putting solar panels on their roofs and cutting their power bills is a safer bet than the stock market or real estate.”