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Governor Schwarzenegger Turns California to Solar Roof Systems
While California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is known for his action movies, few knew of his affinity for the sun. Turns out he’s determined to go solar in California.
$3.2 billion plan
Last week, the State of California became the undisputed largest promoter of solar energy in the United States. Faced with a growing population, limited energy sources, and occasional power outages each summer season, the state really had no choice. With the backing of Governor Schwarzenegger, the state has just set up the largest solar industry subsidiary ever undertaken by any state in an effort to quell the energy crisis.
On January 12, 2006, the California Public Utilities Commission voted 3 to 1 to pass a plan to encourage residents’ use of solar rooftop systems through a $3.2 billion reimbursement plan. Known as the California Solar Initiative, the goal is to convert up to 6% of the state’s peak energy demands to solar platforms. Concretely, the goal is to place solar systems on approximately one million homes in the state, especially new homes. About 15,000 homes in the state now have solar systems for power generation.
Upon use, residents will receive an amazing $2.80 per watt rebate on their utility bill. In addition to this grant, state residents will be able to claim federal tax credits as well as direct grants.
In turn, California hopes to both reduce strain on the current electric grid system while avoiding the costs associated with building and operating massive new power plants needed to fuel the energy crisis associated with a growing population. . It is estimated that the electricity generated by the California Solar Initiative will be enough to replace the need for five massive and expensive new power generation complexes.
In addition to the economic benefits of the new plan, Californians who opt for solar power can reap significant benefits through net metering laws. Under these laws, residents will be able to connect solar platforms to utility power grids and efficiently resell the electricity to California utilities. Depending on the size of the solar platform, net metering can result in a reduction in electricity bills from 50% to complete elimination.
For a state with growing pains, the California Solar Initiative is a major initiative. After a crushing defeat at the polls at the end of 2005, the Governor has reason to rejoice.
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