Things are looking bright today for solar power. Rooftop solar and other local solar options are growing in popularity, and with good reason. Photovoltaic systems can be economical as well as effective in reducing our carbon footprint while avoiding unnecessary habitat losses and wildlife impacts. Interested in the solar revolution? Check the links below for more information.
Go solar at home and at work
- Do your research Learn about the typical bill reductions, tax incentives and other incentives that are available in your area now. See if there is a local Solarize program that helps reduce consumer costs through bulk purchases or see if contractors in your area have attractive lease buy-back options. Going solar now is more economical than it has ever been in the past, by a considerable margin.
- Ask a solar contractor for an assessment of solar for your home Learn more about current prices and incentives and the level of electric bill savings you can expect. Inquire whether they are offering a lease arrangement which eliminates costs at the time of installation. Most homeowners who go solar are using these solar leases because of the financial benefits they offer.
- Enroll in a local solar co-op If your state allows shared solar — a co-op style arrangement for purchasing power from a local small-scale solar facility — consider enrolling as a subscriber. This option is good for people who rent or live in housing associations that prohibit solar, as you do not have to install the equipment on your place of residence. If not yet allowed by law in your state, help advocate for policies that allow shared solar or community solar gardens.
- Urge your employer to do the same If your company owns the building you occupy, urge your facilities manager or CFO to look in to installing solar at your workplace, either on the roof or over the parking lot.
Rooftop solar is more economical than ever before and incentives for businesses are available in many states. To help your business determine what incentives apply in your state, look at the information available on these websites — dsireusa.com or cleanenergyauthority.com.
Employer not convinced? They might be interested in EPA’s ‘Smart Roofs’ program to look at a variety of energy- saving rooftop options.
Please refer to the page for your state for more details on incentives and Solarize programs.
Help your community go solar
- Advocate for rooftop solar on schools, community centers, municipal libraries and other public buildings Engage with your local School District and/or Township on the benefits of rooftop solar. Share information on case studies and on-line resources, including bottom line results as well as carbon impacts. As a first step, ask for an assessment that examines feasibility and likely benefits, and details available incentives.
- Shop with companies that have rooftop solar Identify, and take your business to, retailers that use rooftop solar. Ask local mall managers if they have looked in to solar lately, either on their rooftops or their parking lots. Urge them to do so.
You can also help advance more local solar by letting businesses know that you value environmentally responsible businesses, and use their support of solar as an indicator you look for when choosing where to shop. Access a list of the corporations that are leaders in using solar on-site to guide your shopping behavior.
- Nudge your township to adopt best practices in permitting solar equipment Many township inspection codes and inspection processes slow the installation process for solar because of outdated regulations. Ask your township if it is following recommended best practices and, if not, to initiate the process for updating its permitting and inspection process.
One of the challenges faced by solar installers is the fact that every municipality has its own set of permitting requirements. Keeping up with hundreds (or thousands) of different requirements is a burden to these businesses, increasing consumer costs and slowing the pace of installations. Best practices are now available to help municipalities update their requirements, an important local step for supporting the industry and making solar more affordable to homeowners and businesses. Want to urge your township to update its practices? Start by looking at the information found at: