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Back in 1979, in the wake of the first energy crisis, Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the West Wing of the White House. But in 1986 Ronald Reagan took them down. And he wiped out the federal tax credits for solar. The solar industry went bust.
But today 22 years later Solar energy is finally having its hey day. Pushing the growth is what some call the perfect storm. Growing awareness of climate change. A carbon cap or tax on the horizon. A bloody war, some say, fought over oil. Soaring electricity prices. Add government rebates and tax breaks. And the new jumpstart for the solar industry is almost inevitable.
A solar trade association reports a 48 percent increase in the amount of electricity generated from the sun in the U-S just last year. And in Connecticut, the number of photo voltaic installations more than tripled. Thatâ€™s a lot of growth. But the actual numbers are still small with a total of only 400 installations in the state. And only point one percent of the countryâ€™s electricity generated from solar. Thatâ€™s because, even with rebates, solar is still the most costly of all the renewables.
Today on Where We Live a panel of renewable energy experts helps us gauge the growth of the solar market and how policy-makers can bring more households into it.
How many people do you know with solar electricity? Do you think subsidies are the best way to grow the market?
Joining us in the studio to answer these questions are Lise Dondy President of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and Solar Installer Robert Chew, owner of Solarwrights. Joining us on the Phone is Joel Gordes of Environmental Energy Solutions.
To see pictures of Where We Live's in-studio guests, please go to our Flickr page.
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