Energy incentives get your ecological footprint off to a good start

Cost savingsMost citizens have difficulty grasping the enormity of the climate crisis, don’t believe they personally can make a difference or don’t know where to start to get involved. Government has yet to embrace the reality of global warming, but tax incentives and rebates for energy conservation and efficiency and renewable energy, are available for projects costing only a few dollars to millions, from basic weatherizing and insulation to an electric car or solar arrays. Tune in to hear how energy incentives can offset the cost of your project, yielding a healthy payback plus long-term fixed energy costs and tax savings, in a rising energy market, and offsetting your ‘ecological footprint’ at the same time.

Click here for a Good Dirt Radio 5-minute eco-spot on energy incentives.

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Read transcript below.

Welcome to Good Dirt Radio, reporting on positive change… taking root.

There’s an unintentional war going on… against nature.  Degenerative, short-sighted systems, like many found in conventional industry, transportation and food & energy production, have created dangerous levels of man-made, global pollution.  While some deny that burning massive amounts of fossil fuel can cause climate change, others see an ecological apocalypse ahead from melting ice caps and sea rise, massive extinction and more violent weather.

Most citizens have difficulty grasping the enormity of the climate crisis, don’t believe they personally can make a difference or don’t know where to start to get involved.  Uncle Sam has yet to embrace the reality of global warming and sea change, but tax incentives and rebates for energy conservation and efficiency and renewable energy are available for projects costing only a few dollars… to millions, from basic weatherizing and insulation to an electric car or solar arrays.  If you pay any income tax, incentives can offset the cost of your project, yielding a healthy payback plus long-term fixed energy costs and tax savings… in a rising energy market. It’s a start—to invest in your future and offset your ‘ecological footprint’ at the same time.

In northern NM, Larry Mapes, is an educator, solar energy entrepreneur and  President of the Taos Chapter of NM Solar Energy Association. With 30 years experience in design and installation of systems, he shares his views on the investment aspect.

Mapes:  Every single solar system that I have ever installed and somebody has purchased from my company has always, always performed better than the stock market, particularly in the last 30 years.  In addition to the standard return on investment or ROI, you also have different types of incentives programs added to reduce the cost of the solar system.  Then, it becomes even more attractive.  We can install a solar system, have it completely paid off, often in less than 10, with all the available tax incentives and after that, the energy that you’re producing from that solar system is like putting money in your pocket and that’s at todays’ energy prices. My bet is that it’s not gonna be cheaper.    

As technical editor of Ski Magazine for 20 years, Seth Masia [mayshia] says he watched glaciers melt from under his feet.  Now,  Deputy Editor of Solar Today Magazine, in Boulder, CO, he promotes renewable energy as a solution to  climate change and rising energy prices.  He says states with the highest energy rates have the fastest payback on energy investments.

Masia:  We are the energy consumers and its our lifestyles that are at stake.    The cost of coal has risen 70% over the last 5 years, everybody knows what’s happened to the price of oil and that’s just gonna continue because they are, in fact, extractive resources and regardless of what the oil and coal industries tell you, we are running out of both resources. The prices are bound to go up.

Amy Heineman is a policy analyst at the North Carolina Solar Center where she helps maintain the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, or DSIRE, a comprehensive source of state, local, utility and federal incentives. She rattles off a number of measures that qualify for incentives.

Heineman:  Solar photovoltaics, solar water heating, wind, small wind, hydro, also things like whole building insulation, ducts and air sealing, clothes washers or agricultural equipment, air conditioners, bio-mass, boilers, caulking and weatherstripping, ceiling fans, there are a lot of technologies that are covered, especially under energy efficiency. 

Heineman says consumers should start with inexpensive conservation and efficiency measures, covered by incentives, before installing expensive solar energy systems.

Also from Taos, NM, Sharon Leach is an educator, writer, publisher and recent executive director of Sustain Taos, a nonprofit, working on local sustainability issues.

Leech:  We’re all seeing the effects of climate change.  As the storms get stronger and the species are disappearing, everybody’s starting to notice, we just had the hottest summer on record.  The nice thing about clean energy tax incentives is that they’re adding an extra incentive to something that’s already a wonderful return on investment for the individual business or property owner.  It really does make a difference to your bottom line.  You’re gonna to get paid back and your children are also gonna get paid back. 

For more about how energy incentives can augment your investment, please visit us at gooddirtradio.org.

Investing in energy can yield a decent, growing return, tax savings and fixed energy costs in a rising market, while offsetting one’s carbon footprint.  The time to start,  is now.

I’m Tami Graham, and I’m Tom Bartels.  Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio, digging up good news…. for a change.

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