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A Redefined Solar Industry Makes Another Run at Acceptance
New interest in solar raises the question; is solar here to stay this time around?
“In 1973 while doing air quality research in Nevada the oil embargo happened and it sparked my interest to see the whole world disrupted. My curiosity in self-independence grew. The more I knew about solar energy, the more I thought this was the way we should go,” said Mike Emrich, founder and President of Solarponics.
The United States first invested in energy alternatives to gain domestic energy independence following the oil embargo in 1976. The Middle East’s ban on petroleum exports to the U.S. caused high oil prices and a subsequent recession. After oil prices came back down, the government’s leadership role in solar as an alternative energy source faded. With the 2000’s came rising oil prices, reaching new all-time highs in 2012. Development and legislation for solar energy is once again at the forefront.
Growing concern over climate change coupled with unpredictable oil prices have thrust the research and development of solar into new political and public spheres. Advancements continue to lower the costs of solar energy production, making it a more affordable and practical solution. According to TXCHNOLOGIST, the cost per installed watt of solar was $10.87 in 1998 and $7 by the end of 2010.
“Now it’s an investment. If you can get a loan to buy the system, the cost of that loan will be less than your energy bill. I see solar panels becoming a household appliance, not a luxury. Every home will have it, ” said Kristian Emrich, Vice President of Solarponics.
Solar energy also has strong political support for the first time since Jimmy Carter created the Energy Department, which President Obama now uses to promote green technology. Similar to the state incentives available today for residence installing solar panels, Carter also initiated tax incentives to encourage citizens to install solar hot water heaters. In 1979 Carter ordered solar panels to be put on the White House but Ronald Reagan removed the panels in 1981. Obama plans to install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the White House, though he did not meet his spring 2011 deadline.
“In 37 more years I hope solar is in a wonderful place. We have the potential to have clean air and energy independence because free energy falls from the sky. I’m excited for the day but unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be here. I thought I would see the day. Its been clearly written to me for so long I don’t know how we can deny it,” said Mike.
Solarponics is the Central Coast’s alternative energy pioneer, helping residents achieve energy independence for over 35 years. The longest continuously owned and operated solar company in California, Solarponics has been family owned and operated since 1975. Solarponics can install and service solar electric systems, solar hot water, wind energy systems, solar pool heating and radiant heating systems. For more information, visit http://www.solarponics.com, or follow them on Twitter @solarponics and on Facebook.