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Solar power incentives

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By Shannon Bell

Anyone who’s looked into installing solar panels for their home know that solar power for the entire home is very expensive. At minimum, most homeowners can expect to pay at least $15,000. At maximum, homeowners may pay as much as $45,000 or even $60,000 for a solar panel array that will power their entire home.

However, both federal and state tax credits aim to encourage homeowners to take on a solar project anyway. The federal government, according to the US Department of Energy, will kick in 30% of the cost for a solar project registered before December 31, 2016. A 30% tax break would bring the cost of a $15,000 solar project down to $10,500.

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Feinstein says “No!” to solar panels in desert

Kent Bernhard Jr. has written a very well-thought opinion in Portfolio.com. He discusses the realities of creating energy to support our lifestyles and the inherent difficulty in doing so without disturbing the environment in some way. There are no easy answers and no secret formula to create fuel for our consumption. In fact, the only way that we can not affect the environment is to probably revert to the ways of the historical Native American Indians.

Mr. Bernhard goes into great detail on the subject.  He discusses natural gas, wind power, and nuclear.  Please click through and read the entire article but my version will only focus on the first part. In this sampling he discusses Sen. Diane Feinstein and her efforts to block solar energy from the desert.

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Wind, solar projects race to finish before tax credit expires

USA Today – August 25, 2008

Regardless of your thoughts on global warming, government waste and inefficiencies are something that most of us can agree on. To have alternative energy programs that are on or off, year after year, is simply a waste.  I understand the need to have finite limits to programs (except Social Security never seems to end) but they shouldn’t just stop.

Instead the programs should be weaned off of government assisted life support so that the economy can adjust.  Having these alternative forms of energy production suddenly cut off forces other programs to never start since the investors can’t be assured of a long and viable future.

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Revolutionary Nanoantenna Skin to Provide Next Gen PC Cooling, Solar Cells

DailyTech – August 11, 2008

Maybe I am wrong!  Most people that know me haven’t heard me say that very often. Maybe Mr. Al Gore is correct. I don’t think anyone has ever heard me say that! But here we have a technology that may make solar cells live up to Mr. Gore’s challenge of several weeks ago.  Although, to be honest, if the technology is being discussed on paper and in prototypes now, the likelihood of it making a significant dent in 10 years is not very likely.  So maybe I am not wrong and Mr. Gore is incorrect after all!

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Gore Delivers Remarks on Energy and the Climate

Washington Post – July 17, 2008

Mr. Al Gore recently gave a speech in Washington DC regarding energy.  While many in the blogosphere will call Mr. Gore “Pope Gore” and refer to environmentalists as a religion, in this case, I don’t think that Mr. Gore makes many of the outlandish comments which I have chastised him about. Most of his comments are regarding energy independence, the status of the technology of alternative fuels, and the balance of power.

He does make a few global warming references which are a little hard to defend. He implies that the fires in California are caused by manmade global warming – this is probably not true since California has been enjoying an unusually wet climate for several decades and it appears that this current drought is simply going back to status quo.

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IBM, Partner Develop Solar Technology

Wall Street Journal – June 16, 2008

In order to reduce the pollution of our atmosphere, it is imperative that we find other ways of generating electricity. IBM has a long history of inventing computer chip technology and it is good to see that they are going to try and commercialize their developed techniques.

International Business Machines Corp. said it is collaborating with a Japanese semiconductor-equipment maker to commercialize a solar-energy technology developed by IBM scientists.

Tokyo Ohka Kogyo Co. will work with IBM to develop processes and equipment for the production of thin-film photovoltaic solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Terms of the collaboration weren’t disclosed, but IBM said it expects to license the technology and, eventually, collect royalties, rather than building its own large-scale, manufacturing capability.

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Wind energy soon might power Sandia and Kirtland

New Mexico Business Weekly – May 23, 2008

Interesting article about good use of natural resources to power federal government facilities.  It is also worth noting that the facility tried to not just use wind but also solar and found that solar was not economical. This subject should be interesting to all that are concerned with global warming and also those that want to make sure that we tap every available option to create energy.

A 30 megawatt wind farm soon could supply a third of the energy consumed by Sandia National Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force Base.

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Federal energy ‘independence’ act threatens to chill solar industry

December 21, 2007 – Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

The tax subsidies for the solar industry are in danger of expiring. This could be a significant damper on the development of this industry. While I am rarely a proponent of government propping up an industry, I also do not think it is wise to abruptly halt a program which sends that group into a tailspin.

Regardless of your thoughts on global warming, I think we can all agree that we need to reduce our current consumption of energy from other nations, and solar is a possible way to help.

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Read the sunspots

Financial Post – June 20, 2007

As those who read this site regularly know, I am firm believer in more research in the sciences of the global climate. It is important to understand, though, that scientists are people and generally have a position to defend or promote.

This particular study is interesting in that it re-confirms other studies that show an approximate 11 year cycle of climate change. This cycle is similar to the solar sunspot cycle however this does not mean that there is a causality here or is this simply a correlation. The author then adds to the argument by referencing another popular theory of cosmic radiation.

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