More so than ever solar energy is seeing a huge boom in the United States. The US saw a total increase in capacity of seventy five percent last year. Solar energy is a renewable energy source and is a solution to the effects of power plant pollution on the environment and on our communities. Solar energy is not the most common source of an energy alternative, which is why the word needs to spread. Educating the public and the policy makers on why it's so important to reduce dependence on fossil fuels will make a huge impact on the economic, environmental, and public health issues they create.
One US city has seen an increase in popularity and usage of the renewable energy source. Due to its government run utilities, Austin, Texas can maintain large budgets for solar incentive programs. An innovator when it comes to implementing solar power. In 2005 Texas legislature set renewable energy goals for the power industry. They had the next twenty years to have 10,000 megawatts of renewal energy capacity installed, which would power about 3.5 million homes. The incentives the government was initiating brought developers to the forefront of the plan and they were all too eager to take advantage of the renewable credits program.
Soon after, China began producing cheap solar panels that in turn flooded the marketplace, cutting the cost of an installation system by almost eighty percent. Around fifteen thousand dollars to install, residential owners werent as enthusiastic about the costs, but the commercial businesses sought to benefit from the savings it would produce.
Becoming a solar contractor in Austin gives an edge to the business by offering incentives and rebates if they installed a solar energy system. These solar PV (photovoltaic) systems require little to no maintenance and use the suns natural energy to generate electricity.
Austin Energy, the city's power company, gives performance-based solar incentive (PBI) earns the commercial company credits on their monthly bill for the power the solar PV system generates. They stay connected to the grid and while the business would generate enough electricity to operate during the day, Austin Energy would continue to supply the business with its energy needs when the PV system wasnât producing enough. If the company's credits exceed their monthly bill, those remaining credits go toward the following their monthly bill. Funding is limited and only available to their customers. It is on a first come, first serve basis.
In order to be eligible for these system installations, the business entity must first request a bid from a qualified contractor. There is an application process, of which the contractor submits on behalf of the business owner. Once it's received by Austin Energy, they then determine the business's eligibility by taking aerial photographs of the property. If they cannot determine eligibility by the photograph a representative will come out to the property for an onsite visit. The approval process takes six to eight weeks. Once approved, Austin Energy sends a letter of intent, and the business can begin the process of installing their PV system. They have 120 days to complete installation, and if it's new construction, 180 days. The energy company has to install metering, and once that's complete the credits begin showing on your bill.
The energy company also offers rebates to companies to install a solar powered water heater in their business. The customer has to own the business and be a current Austin Energy customer to qualify. This install qualifies the customer for a 30% federal tax credit including installation and labor. The commercial solar Austin-based businesses also may benefit by receiving a federal tax credit based on the installed cost of the PV system including all the labor as well. It may also qualify the business for a property tax exemption.
There are several contractors Austin Energy shares on their website to help you find a qualified Austin solar company. In order to qualify the business must use a participating company to do the installation. The company they choose is completely up to the owner and Austin Energy does not endorse the companies it has posted. They are there for their customers as a reference guide when choosing a qualified contractor.
The solar power industry is a revolutionary industry that boasts a valuable place in society today. It's only a matter of time before other states begin to take notice.
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