June 19: national day to celebrate solar energy

by Antonio Pasolini on June 19, 2010

Events across the country are being held today to mark SolarDay 2010, a date created to celebrate solar power, energy independence and the environment. Over 40 cities will be hosting events to help residents to find out about energy options, solar rebates and how to improve energy efficiency.

The first annual SolarDay was held in 2009 with a tour hosted by the city of San Francisco using bio-diesel buses of solar hot water heating systems in the city.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in 2009 the solar industry added 441 megawatts of new, clean power to the U.S., pulled in 1.4 billion in new venture capital investments, provided 45,000 jobs and grew by 36% in annual revenue.

By the end of 2010, SEIA estimates the U.S. solar industry will surpass 60,000 jobs. Extending existing programs, including the Treasury Grant Program will add 200,000 new domestic jobs to the solar workforce and result in 10gigawatts (GW) of new solar installations by 2016 – enough to power 2 million homes.

Addison Huegel, Executive Director of SolarDay recently stated: “As if the cost of electricity was not a good enough reason to adopt solar energy using the available rebates, there is the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf that reminds us yet again about our reliance on fossil fuels and the fragility of our ecosystem.”

He reminds us that 50% of the electric energy produced in the U.S. is from burning coal while in China, that figure is 83%. However, the picture is starting to change.

“Government support of solar on the state and Federal level has made solar affordable. People with solar installations for their homes and businesses can significantly reduce their monthly energy bills. And, there are many incentive and rebate programs that can reduce the cost of a solar installation by nearly half. Plus, new programs allow you to pay off your solar installation through your property taxes and other methods. Some solar companies will install a solar installation at no cost – and simply charge you for the electricity you consume – at a guaranteed rate with no surprises”, adds Addison.

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