Finally, Obama has given up on that dinner date he’d been emailing me about all through the primary, but he still emails me constantly with this and that – as he no doubt does you too. Today’s email is about what green energy legislation ideas I want to see in the stimulus package. [In his weekly TV address Obama also called for spurring the economy with green job growth -Ed.]
So, Obama; here’s one I want.
It is hard for us credit-poor peasants in today’s shattered Gilded-Age economy to try and find solar financing. I would like to see legislation devised – so that if you want to put up a solar roof, you can, without having to qualify for financing. It would work like this:
You would request a solar roof. A certified solar company would come and install as many electrons-worth of solar as your roof can produce for the grid – not just what you need – which would be better for utilities.
But you would not pay the solar roof company. You would just pay your electric bill as usual. (If you don’t pay your electricity bill, you would get your electricity cut off, same as now. But the electrons from your roof would still go to the grid for someone else.)
Your electric utility would have to accept the same amount monthly from you as you were paying them for coal (etc) electrons, but the utility would just be required, under this plan, to then forward your payment in full to the solar company for the five to twenty years till the panels are paid off.
The panel maintenance and repair would be the solar company’s responsibility permanently, regardless of who lives at the house. If you leave before it is paid off, the next mortgagee still pays the same sum for electricity to the utility, which then transfers to the solar company.
The utility would effectively become the billing and banking arm of the solar industry. They still could cut your electricity off if you don’t pay, just as now, so the default risk is minimal.
What this means is your utility must ‘finance’ your solar over x years at 0%. Your solar would go to the grid and boost the utility’s electron supply, so they would not have to invest any actual new cash.
But the income they got from you would not be a part of the business income, (since they are just passing it through to the solar company). The taxpayer cost of this program would be just to replace some lost profit to the utility for forgoing the profit on supplying your electrons. But they don’t have to pay for the new electrons you make for them. So this would be a pretty frugal fix.
Do you have a zero carbon economy idea for president-elect Obama? I’ll be sending them on to him, so tell me now!
Other legislative ideas I like:
Gas 2.0: Let’s Pay Detroit to Bring Their Gas Sippers Home to the USA
Gas 2.0: Utilities Suggest Huge EV Orders
Inspired Economist: $50 Billion CalCars Plan Could Save Detroit
Image from Flikr user LifeBeGreen