On the residential level, some individuals say it’s the right thing to do irrespective of cost. For instance, Jennifer Bies took out a home equity line of credit to foot the $24,000 bill for her Portland bungalow’s solar water heater and photovoltaic panels. While the system has yet to pay for itself, Bies says a combination of state, federal and Energy Trust rebates and incentives will significantly reduce her initial outlay over time. And more help may be on the way. A bill under consideration (pdf) in the state legislature would create a pilot program to make investor-owned utilities buy back energy produced from new solar panels at a set price for both commercial and residential customers.
So do the long-term savings of solar justify the investment? And what about lower-income individuals who may be unable to write the big check required to purchase the systems? Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Dan Nocera says research he is doing into the storage of solar power may help alleviate its costs.
What’s the best and most cost effective kind of solar energy? And how should we fund it?
Have you outfitted your home or business with solar energy? Did the cost and energy savings deliver as promised? What’s the best policy for the state on solar power?
- Jennifer Bies: Portland resident who purchased a solar water heater and photovoltaic panels for her home
- Doug Boleyn: Commercial solar program manager at Energy Trust of Oregon and a member of the board of directors of Solar Oregon
- Dan Nocera: Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Bob Beisner: Vice President at SolarWorld Industries America and a member of the Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association board