The solar energy is one of the fastest growing renewable sources of electricity, with several advantages over the other forms of electricity generation. In fact, solar energy is a resource that is not only sustainable for consumption indefinitely renewable ( at least until the sun runs out in billions of years). Solar energy also doesn’t require fossil fuels, producing clean energy with limited impact on the environment and smaller investments in production and transportation.
For these reasons and so many more, the government would like people to switch to solar because it's clean and better for long term economic strength, So what's the hold up?
The cost of the installation of solar energy is typically high. In order to encourage more people to go solar, governments around the world are setting up programs to incentivize the use of solar and other renewable energy sources to help fight global warming.
The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in the U.S., for example, currently provides a 30% federal tax credit claimed against the tax liability of residential, commercial, and utility investors in solar energy property. It allows the homeowner to apply the credit to their personal income taxes. “This credit is used when homeowners purchase solar systems outright and have them installed on their homes. In the case of the Section 48 credit, the business that installs, develops and/or finances the project claims the credit,” a statement on Solar Outreach explains.
There are various other initiatives working to ensure solar powered energy continues to makes its way into everyone’s homes. Oakland, California nonprofit Grid Alternatives, for example, is an organization that implements solar power and energy efficiency for low-income families. They currently have ten regional offices and affiliates serving all of California, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. They also have staff on the ground in Nicaragua.
One California resident, Kianté London, used the program to put panels on his three-bedroom home.
“It helps me and my family a great deal to have low-cost energy, because these energy prices are really expensive,” explained London. “And I wanted to do my part. It’s clean, green energy.” He had wanted solar for years, but couldn’t afford it before. This new program paid the entire up-front cost of his array, however.
“These systems are saving families money every month for food, for clothes, for medical expenses,” noted Julian Foley, communications director for Grid Alternatives.
The organization, which targets working-class communities, is using $14.7 million raised through California’s cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “That system forces factories, power plants, oil refineries and other large businesses to buy credits for every ton of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases they pump into the atmosphere,” reported David R. Baker. Grid Alternatives plans to install arrays on more than 1,600 California homes by the end of 2016.
Most homeowners are asked to provide small contributions for the installation, like feeding the crew or agreeing to help with the process themselves. But otherwise, it’s completely free. And the arrays are thought to save homeowners anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per year on electricity, depending on where they live.