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Surprising Stats About Solar

Solar hot water system in NYC

The man behind Cash for Clunkers is taking on a new enterprise in hopes he can help you convert your home to solar power. (And make money doing so.)

The newly established Global Solar Center says it will assess your specific information (location, power needs, etc.) and give you an estimate on what it costs to go solar at your home or business, and hook you up with installers. The Center, headed up by Jack Hidary, has released survey results about the spread of solar energy in the US.

Mr. Hidary has a long history in the sustainability/efficiency realm. Among his accomplishments, listed at HidaryFoundation.org: He rallied for NYC taxis to switch to hybrids, he’s on the National Renewable Energy Lab board, he’s a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, and he’s chairman of the nonprofit SmartTransportation.org. It’s through this last connection that he ended up helping launch the popular Cash for Clunkers initiative. (Greentech Media has all the interesting details.)

Why list all this? To establish bona-fides. After all, this is a company that obviously has much to gain from the dissemination of their survey data. That doesn’t scream objectivity. But when you know a little about the founder, you get a sense that perhaps the Global Solar Center is not only about making money. It feels like they may be driven just as much by a desire to do some good in the world.

The main reason I wanted to post this is that the prospect of going solar really intrigues me as a homeowner. I figure there are many in the Captivate audience who feel the same.

The study – which is based on National Renewable Energy Lab solar potential analysis, the Database for State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, and national utility average rates for residential and non-residential customers – concludes:

  • Though California is known as a renewable-energy leader, it is New Jersey that has the most generous incentives for solar power.

  • If you combine city, state and local incentives, residents in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Colorado can make all their money back from a solar installation in three years.

  • The new hot market for solar electricity is Pennsylvania, with incentives covering 60% of installation cost.

  • Solar hot water is now a one-year payback in Florida and southern Texas.

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“Surprising Stats About Solar”