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California's Sunny Future Under Threat

by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (SPX) Sep 01, 2005
On September 9, a critical piece of legislation will be voted on in the Californian Assembly that will determine the immediate future of the solar electricity industry in the United States.

Known as SB1, the program is an initiative of Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and aims to install solar electricity systems on the roofs of one million homes and business across California by 2016.

Funding the installation of some 3,000 megawatts of peak power capacity generated from solar photo voltaic power systems, Californian will not need to build costly base load plants to meet afternoon demand spikes. In essence the cost of the rebate is offset by future savings.

But now as the legislation faces its final vote, politicking has broken out with disputes over requirements to use union labor or non union labor.

A compromise is possible, and clearly it makes sense to provide a continuation of current arrangements for those installations involving local, state or federal facilities. But for private businesses and home owners it's make no sense to place restrictions on the hiring of contractors to install solar electricity systems.

One of the few obstacles to achieving the one million roof goal is the sheer number of installations that need to be done. Simple arithmetic shows that to meet the 2016 goal up to 300 installations will be need to be done each working day.

Like all large scale infrastructure projects securing skilled labor over long periods is an ongoing challenge, and the last thing the solar industry needs at this point is unnecessary regulations determining employment conditions in a fast growing industry.

Let the private market sort out how to cost effectively install 300 solar installations a day for the next 10 years - and the job will get done.

In light of these concerns ABC Solar asks that you call, write or email your California government representatives and ask them to support SB1.

Solar photo voltaic's are among the few commercial spin offs from the space program beyond communications and earth observation.

Moreover, Californian space companies with plenty of roof space should consider taking advantage of the new unlimited 30% federal tax credits for commercial solar systems.

In California with the rebates and tax credits, commercial solar can have a long-term kWh rate of 5 cents!

Please call your California State Government representatives today and ask them to support a solar future for the sunshine state.

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Commentary: Energy Emergency
Washington (UPI) Aug 31, 2005
Fear spurred by the Soviet Union's alarming strides in the conquest of space - Sputnik in October 1957, Laika the female dog in orbit a month later, then the first orbit around the moon, followed by Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space in April 1961 - prompted then Sen. Lyndon Johnson to declare: "Control of space means control of the world."

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