Solar Subsidies are Booming

July/August 2006
A version of this article appears in the July/August 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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July 01, 2006
        Recent developments around the Unites States are creating a very favorable atmosphere for solar energy.The biggest boost comes from a marked rise in the cost of conventional fuels; by the end of 2005, prices for fuel oil had on average risen 44% nationally in one year, and higher in some regions. Natural gas rose an average of 38% over the same period, though it dropped slightly during the spring of 2006. The reasons for this price increase range from bottlenecks in natural gas production caused by Hurricane Katrina to the global rise in oil prices.These price shocks have raised public worries about energy to levels not seen since the 1970s.         The timing could not be better for the solar-energy subsidies, which have been accumulating from several sources. Tired of waiting for the federal government to act in support of solar, many states have enacted their own tax credits or rebate programs. Each has different regulations and subsidies affecting solar. One state may have subsidies totaling 50%, while an adjacent state may have none at all.         Separately, some state utility regulatory agencies are requiring that a ...

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