How to Apply for Solar Energy Grants
Most homeowners don't know how to apply for solar energy grants. In fact, many may not know such grants are available as most advertising features grants awarded to large corporation to encourage clean energy use in manufacturing.
In spite of all the news stories in the past few years, the electricity produced by harnessing solar power is less than 1% of the power use in the U.S.
European countries have been more willing to accept solar technology and some such as Germany and Spain have offered high incentives to encourage use of solar energy. Guides offering advice on how to apply for solar energy grants are becoming more common.
Solar Energy Grants Come After Profit-Producing Products
In the U.S. the profit motive in business is the driving force behind product creation. The environmental movement that first began pushing for the use of solar energy led many companies to start producing products for the market.
Unfortunately, many of the corporations had limited production and many of the laws meant to control manufacturing worked to limit production of solar energy products and to make the products too expensive for public use.
Not surprisingly, China is the major world producer of solar panels. Last year China built and sold half of the solar panels manufactured worldwide.
The market for solar panels is about $29 billion and the U.S. is responsible for only $1.6 billion of that. The reason is simple. China has promoted the solar energy technology by subsidizing he industry while the U.S. has relied on private companies to enter the market.
A high proportion of the Chinese solar energy panels are sold to the U.S. military. U.S. manufacturers have not been able to meet the quantities demands or to match the price of the cheaper Chinese imports.
In response, the administration and Congress passed a Buy American regulation that received little attention in the press. One of the prohibitions in this new regulation is that the State Department is not permitted to buy Chinese-made solar panels.
Encouragement for Home Owners
In recent years, the government has tried to spur interesting solar energy products by providing tax benefits for homeowners who install energy efficient appliances or solar energy panels.
This benefit spurred some building new homes to install solar panels in order to qualify for the cash rebates and tax writeoffs and for a time added some impetus to productions of solar energy components in the U.S.
One of the problems to overcome is the reluctance of the public to adapt a new technology. Simple passive solar systems have become quite popular but the more innovative systems require extra space for the operating controls.
The solar energy home systems require homeowners to learn and use a technology that is unfamiliar to them. For homeowners who are accustomed to turning a thermostat up or down, the control panels for a full home solar energy system can be daunting.
Insurance can also be a problem for homeowners. The may know how to apply for solar energy grants but realize even with a grant the cost of solar energy is higher initially than a traditional heating and air conditioning system.
HVAC systems last for many years with minimal maintenance required. How to apply for a solar energy grant may help solve the problem of installment costs but homeowners are wary of new systems that might not last as long or might need more frequent repair.
Grants for solar energy must not only offer money or tax incentives but often must educate the public about the benefits of using this clean energy source.
How to Apply for Solar Energy Grants in the Private Sector
In major cities some electric companies are providing grants for homeowners who use solar energy. The huge plants that create electricity from oil and coal are aging rapidly.
Though nuclear energy meets the new clean air standards, nuclear power is feared by many in the U.S. The chance of nuclear meltdown or escape of radioactive material into the air has effectively stopped the building of new power plants.
Increased population in major urban areas has put a severe stress on power grids. Heat waves in the summer can lead to brownouts where energy is restricted or to rolling blackouts in attempts to even out the power being pulled from the grid. Balancing power production with the demand for electricity has become a true challenge during hot summers and the coldest winters.
The power companies don't want to lose customers but they would prefer to have alternatives that would reduce the load on their aging power plants. For this reason, some large power companies are offering to buy back any excess solar energy produced by homeowners.
This purchased energy is then distributed through the power grid to fill the energy demands of the company's customers. For the homeowner, selling the excess solar power provides money to pay for the reduced amount of electricity he buys from the power company.
To learn how to apply for solar energy grants, check government websites and the site of your power company. You may need to check frequently as solar energy grants are often limited in the time they are available.