Room for Solar

The first article I read today was about large scale solar, and the issues around finding enough land. Stepping through a few more items in my inbox, I see this: “A Solar Re-Skin at [The Redskin’s] FedEx Field”
(a month old, but still making the rounds in various newsletters)

I did the economic analysis for residential solar panels a few years ago for a friend who lived in Arizona. At that time – before massive federal incentives – you could break even on installing solar panels on a new house. For a new house, the added capital costs were expected to be approximately $300/month over a 30 year mortgage to cover a $300/month electric bill. So to me, it seems like a no-brainer for new developments to include solar panels by default.

Retrofits like the one being done at the Redskin’s stadium may cost more, but with current incentive programs it can still make economic sense for the owners, and from an image standpoint it’s great marketing.

And if you’re into job creation, the incentive programs for small-scale solar could put a lot of people to work. Here in Washington state, there are additional incentives for solar installations – but the equipment must all be manufactured within the state to get the maximum payback rates. The policy with the incentives was put together as a jobs bill, not an energy bill.

With all the current incentives for solar power, I think it might be worth looking to see if we can find a little bit of room.

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