Although the Recession has slowed down the rapid rise of alternative energy technologies like solar, wind, wave and biofuels, the future is still quite bright. The good news for homeowners and businesses large and small is that the benefits of home solar power are not restricted just to the sunniest states. Impressive gains are being seen in some unlikely places as well.
It's probably no surprise that interest in solar power is heavy in sunny California. PG&E, one of the state's major utilities, reports that it connects to 40% of all solar panels in the U.S. It's probably also not a stretch to believe that South Florida is a hotbed of solar activity, given balmy weather and a progressive bent. Likewise, parts of the Phoenix area are becoming heavily solarized, and to a lesser extent solar panels are being deployed fairly regularly up and down most of our nation's coasts, where there is less of a concern with shading and a higher concentration of people with money to spend on improvements.
Of course, the decision to go solar is a big one, and it can seem complicated, as well as expensive. Getting started may be easier than you think, however, and what's particularly exciting are the rise of solar panel leasing plans and neighborhood groups that are pooling resources to get hefty group discounts.
So what determines consumer interest in home solar power? Major factors do include availability of sun, as well as social and political values, disposable income and - significantly -- state and local incentives. (Check out DSIRE, The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, to find out what incentives and rebates are offered from your state, town or utility.) We can get a fascinating overview of how these various factors influence actual consumer behavior with this mashup map by Cooler Planet.
Cooler Planet took all of the inquiries they've received over the last several years -- some 30,000 -- and mapped them on a live data, interactive heat map. Who's Cooler Planet? They're a Seattle-based company created by environmentalists with backgrounds in software engineering and online marketing, with one goal: "Over time, we aim to provide you all the tools and resources you need to reduce the carbon footprint of your home, your business, and your life." Cooler Planet's service is completely free, and matches interested homeowners and businesses with their network of pre-screened Green Professionals.
Source: Huffington Post