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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, June 27, 2013

Solar is getting cheaper

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


I feel very strongly that we as a country can do so much more on the energy independence front than we've done.  We've only just begun with our exploration and conservation efforts.

I believe we need a national policy of having our truck fleets run on natural gas. Natural gas is cheaper and cleaner than diesel. We're already starting to see some delivery services like UPS run more of their fleets on natural gas.

Meanwhile, we shouldn't overlook solar energy. The Wall Street Journal  reports the economics of solar are becoming more compelling for businesses first and residents second.

In the U.S., we will install more solar this year than we did the entire last decade, something like the equivalent energy to two giant nuke power plants being built from scratch. The cost of panels has dropped by 97% in a generation. That's down from an equivalent of $30 a watt to 84 cents today, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Texas is the latest state to change its laws to allow for special solar financing in the Lone Star State. They've amended laws to allow what's called assessed clean energy financing, where business can get a tax break.

But did you know one of the greatest untapped resources is schools? Most schools sit empty when you count in summer break and vacations throughout the year. They have those flat roofs where solar panels could easily be popped up. And then schools can generate income that defrays the cost of proving services to children.

All we have to do is open up our minds to possibilities.

People who naysay about solar and wind power have historically done so because of static analysis. They take only today's numbers and say, "This will never work." But that kind of attitude sells American ingenuity short.

It doesn't count on the power of science and technology to make better products and lower costs over time.

For example, the first computer I bought for my business was a used one for $30,000 in 1982. Yet my wristwatch today is smarter than that computer I bought used for $30,000 30 years ago!

Never sell short our ability to create change.

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