Installing solar energy generators is much more affordable thanks to solar power rebates. The US federal government and many state governments offer incentives to help people install photovoltaic cells.
Other governments such as Canada, Australia, Britain, and Germany do the same. These incentives typically come in the form of tax credits, rebates, and feed-in tariffs, all of which make it cost-effective to install solar panels.
One of the first efforts to make renewable energy affordable came during the 1970s with the American National Energy Act, signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. The Act encouraged small-scale renewable energy generation by requiring utilities to purchase energy from independent producers.
Some utilities signed long-term contracts to purchase renewable energy at fixed prices, an early version of a feed-in tariff. When commodity prices declined in the 1980s, these contracts were blamed for increasing prices. After that failure, rebates were increasingly used instead of tariffs.
In recent years, there has been an increased effort to promote solar power as a way to avert the use of coal, natural gas, and fossil fuels. Solar panels are much more energy efficient and can prevent climate change. A houses solar panels will not only offer power a house but also generates excess power that other people can use.
Governments have promoted it with incentives as well as mandates, such as Californias requirement that 33% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. California also instituted a feed-in tariff, as well as rebates and other incentives to promote solar panels.
The US government offers a tax credit for using solar power. For individuals and families, this represents a reimbursement of up to 30% of the purchase price of the solar power system. Other states and local governments offer similar systems of rebates, at varying prices, and differing depending on the type of system.
Corporations and nonprofits can have special incentives for using solar power. This solar power rebate helps make installing solar panels affordable because the government will offset the cost. These rebates make it easier and more affordable to help the planet by increasing renewable energy generation.
Feed-in tariffs are perhaps the most common around the world, offering long-term contracts to buy renewable energy such as solar power. These tariffs are based on cost, in order to make renewable energy cost-effective. The rates typically decline over time, however, in order to encourage innovation and the use of the most cost-effective systems.
Germany was one of the first to implement what was called the Feed-in Law, and used a percentage-based system, so that solar and wind power would be purchased at 90% of the price of residential electricity. The rates are regularly adjusted in order to ensure a reasonable rate of return on investments. This has been a model for many countries.
The laws are constantly changing in order to balance incentives to generate renewable power and the costs to taxpayers and electricity consumers. As a result, solar power rebates one year may offer significantly more or less than the previous year.
Indeed, in many countries, recent budget cuts have meant decreased incentives for renewable energy. Here is a good list of sources of information on incentives for solar power.
Feed-in tariffs and renewable rebates help finance personal energy generation. While solar panels may often be unaffordably expensive, with tariffs and credits, anybody can get their own power without having to depend on coal and fossil fuels.
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