Monday, March 2, 2009

Solar Bonanza

It’s amazing—I’m seeing our electric meter going backwards.

We’ve just gotten solar panels installed on the roof of our house and they harvest all the electricity we need. And under the net metering program of our region’s utility, the Long Island Power Authority, that means LIPA is to send us a check for the excess electricity fed back into the grid. Also, we’ve put up panels on the roof that heat water. Even on cold days, as long as the sun is shining water comes down from those panels at 100 to 120 degrees.

You can do the same thing. And with federal and state tax credits and with LIPA, a big rebate, you can do it with an astonishing financial break.

You can now get 70 percent—yes, 70 percent—off the cost of a solar photovoltaic installation.

I’ve reported on solar power for decades—but it took doing a TV documentary this summer, “Renewable Energy Is More Than Ready,” for WVVH-TV, to see the reality of the feasibility of solar energy.

To see the program, go to YouTube:
WVVH-TV Renewable Energy is More Than Ready (Part 1)
WVVH-TV Renewable Energy is More than Ready (Part 2)

A main figure in the program is Gordian Raacke of Renewable Energy Long Island. We went to his home where solar photovotaic panels produce all the electricity he and his wife need. And solar thermal panels furnish hot water.

So we arranged to have photovoltaic and hot water panels installed on our roof. The work was done by Majestic Son and Sons of Patchogue, New York. If the Obama administration is looking for infrastructure projects that produce jobs and have a grand energy pay-off, solar energy is Number One.

A swarm of Majestic workers, including the company’s president, Dean Hapshe, and two of his sons, were all over our roof merrily installing panels.

For Hapshe, it’s far more than a business. He’s a pioneer in solar power installing solar systems for 29 years. He says of solar: “It’s limitless. And free.” And, with global warming, vital .

As noted, the final price is a bonanza. A 3,000-watt photovoltaic system (what the Raackes have) costs $27,000. But then reduce that by 70 percent. And you, too, can watch electric meter go backward.

Imagine if all over the United States, houses and businesses were equipped with solar panels. Energy independence—courtesy of the sun. Just great.

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