Solar power is one of the leading players in field of alternative energy, but as with any new or growing technology the cost is typically very high. However, now may be the perfect time to go solar.
Creating jobs, encouraging energy conservation, and promoting alternative energy generation... those are the three primary goals of the new 40 million dollar, Virginia State Energy Plan. Governor Tim Kaine says, "Energy efficiency and conservation-along with renewable energy production-will lower utility bills for consumers, decrease our dependence on foreign energy sources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide a safer and cleaner environment for Virginians to live, work, and play"
15 of the 40 million dollars are part of the Renewable Rebate Program which provides rebates for renewable energy generation systems like solar and wind. Paul Risbeg, President of AltEnergy Inc. says, "The state rebate would probably give you 25 to 30% of the cost of the entire system, so that's a very sizable rebate. And you get to couple that with the federal rebate which is 30%, so it's a very significant benefit."
In addition to both rebates, the cost of solar technology has also dropped in the past year. "I'd say over the past year probably a 25 to 30% reduction in materials cost and we have been able to reflect that in our installed costs." says Risberg.
Now here's the bad news... the new Virginia renewable rebate program as already maxed out. But Risberg anticipates that more rebate funds are in the works. "Just yesterday, people got emails that the program had been fully subscribed to but following what most states have done, they continue to add funds on a regular basis."
In addition to the Virginia State Energy Plan, 9.7 million dollars in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants will be distributed to local governments for projects like energy audits and LED traffic signals.