We talked earlier about the potential of solar–with 70 million single family homes in this country, that’s a lot of roof space. Of course, there are a lot of homes in regions that are not best fits for solar, but the idea of 70 million rooftops is enough to spark our interest.
Remember that our interest is sparked by potential ways of reducing emissions without much in the way of government investment. This is based on the idea that the current administration is not committed to a Green New Deal, and it’s not guaranteed that the next one will be either.
Normal citizens who can afford a house might also be able to afford solar panels on their roof. (They might also be able to afford a battery with which to store power to recharge an electric vehicle, which is a double win.)
But what about the rest of America, those of us who live in apartments, condos, trailer homes, etc.? There are about 46 million residences that are not single family houses. And yes, there are solar alternatives available.
Chief among them are community solar ‘gardens’, arrays that are put up in shared spaces, with costs and savings on the electric bill parceled out among participants. There are dozens, if not hundreds, already in existence and companies that specialize in putting them up. The federal government will provide the 30% investment tax credit that is available for solar homes, and some states supplement that with incentives of their own.
There are also more than 4.7 million office buildings in the U.S. And 68,000 strip malls. And 117,000 public and private school buildings. And 300,000 churches.
In short, we all can play–if we decide to. Remember that we are already doing it–there are more than a million solar homes already, and businesses, churches and schools are already putting solar on their rooftops, albeit in small numbers.
With solar power, the initial investment is significant, although many solar companies are willing to lease or finance the upfront costs. But the fuel is free and the investment can be recouped in several years, depending on how much sun hits the panel.
If we do want a Green New Deal, we don’t have to wait for it to be handed to us on a platter. If we start down the road, it will start to look like a parade. And if that happens, expect politicians to race to jump in front of it, so they can tell themselves (and the rest of us) that they’re leaders.