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Key Factors On Energy Front Should Fast Track Sustainable Energy Resolutions

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by Staff Writers
Murrieta CA (SPX) Jan 14, 2008
2008 gets underway with key influencers shaping the solar and renewable energy landscape. Residential, commercial and public sector decision makers need to take these factors into consideration to fast track plans for energy efficiency and sustainable energy systems in the New Year.

One of the most critical factors shaping decisions now is the Federal Energy Bill passed in December. The 822-page measure, delivered to President Bush in a hybrid Prius, did not extend the 30% solar related ITC (Investment Tax Credit) as it would have in the original draft.

The ITC, that has been in existence since January 1, 2006 now rewards consumers with a 30% tax credit on all technologies that promote a form of solar energy. There is no cap on the amount of the credit for business users and there is a $2,000 cap for residential users. The new energy bill (H.R. 6) will revert the credit back to former 10% level for businesses and be discontinued for homeowners at the end of 2008.

"If consumers want to take advantage of the current Federal ITC 30% level they must have the system in place and commissioned by the end of the year and they are already lining up to avoid being shut out," exhorted Mo Rousso, President, HelioPower, Inc. HelioPower is a leading solar integration firm in California. Mr. Rousso, an engineer, designed and installed his first solar system in 1975.

"Consumers at home, who own a business or work in an institutional, non profit or public sector position need to look at this seriously and get going now to make sure their system is up and running when the clock hits midnight on December 31."

To qualify for the Federal Tax credit a solar system must be fully commissioned. This means the system has been designed, installed, tested and placed into service, per IRS rules. Solar photovoltaic systems, for example, can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks on a residential rooftop and up to 6 months for commercial applications, depending on size and design complexity. Firms that have a solid reputation are already being inundated with last minute requests to get systems up and running!"

"If you back up the timeframe for all phases of a system construction to commission, and thus to the resulting Federal 30% tax credit," said Mr. Rousso, "You see that consumers don't have a lot of time. They need to get going now on the process of finding and qualifying a solid integration firm and then getting started on an approved solar system design."

A second key factor, for those in the territory of Southern California Edison, is the continued electricity price rate volatility resulting from rate increases on fossil-fuel based energy sources.

"In some areas of California we've got a 'double whammy' hitting consumers," says Steve LoRusso, Vice President of Sales for HelioPower. "Not only will the Federal tax credit on solar systems be cut to less than half its current level at the end of the year, but we've got a 14.8% price increase for residential consumers in one of the biggest utility areas of the state, Southern California Edison. Businesses have a substantial increase as well."

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City Of Palo Alto's Green Energy Program Best In Country
Roseville CA (SPX) Jan 14, 2008
The City of Palo Alto recently celebrated its ranking as the number one renewable energy program in the U.S., according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). PaloAltoGreen, a voluntary green energy purchasing program, now boasts a membership of one in five ratepayers. While the national average for enrollment in similar programs is less than two percent, PaloAltoGreen saw a five percent membership increase in 2007.

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