Solar Energy News for Monday, April 19

Posted by Daniel Kulpinski

Apr 19, 2010 6:37:00 AM

Colorado to Offer Energy Rebates Starting Today

As we mentioned in a recent blog post, Colorado opens its new energy rebate program today. The Denver Post reports Colorado consumers can apply for rebates on energy-efficient appliances and home energy upgrades from the $18 million economic stimulus program. Rebates range from $50 to $400 on qualifying appliances. In addition, the program offers rebates of $400 to $15,000 for home insulation or installation of residential or commercial solar- and wind-energy systems. Get more info at

California, New Jersey, Nevada Are Top Solar States

A new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association notes that California, New Jersey and Nevada have the most installed solar panels and solar capacity of all the states. In 2009, the top three states for solar panel installation that year were California, New Jersey and Florida. The ‘U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review 2009 (PDF)’ also stated that home solar installations soared last year, and the amount of electric output from home solar doubled from 78 megawatts in 2008 to 156 megawatts in 2009. This occurred in part because the federal government lifted the $2,000 tax-credit cap for residential solar panels, allowing homeowners to deduct 30 percent of their total costs. Also, the report says, the price of photovoltaic modules has fallen more than 40 percent from mid-2008.

Maryland Encourages Solar Panel Installations, But Not on the Pier

Robert Bruninga of Glen Burnie, Md., has solar panels in the one sunny spot in his yard, but he wanted to do more. Tall trees shade his roof from the sun, so that was out. But Bruninga, an engineer at the U.S. Naval Academy, lives on Marley Creek--so he came up with a plan to build a pier and cover it with solar panels. He figured this way he could offset the electricity he buys from Baltimore Gas & Electric--and remove his contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from the coal-fired power plant across the creek. State officials told him they'd approve the pier, just not the solar panels, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Teams Announced for 2011 Solar Decathlon

Last week, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced the teams that have been selected to compete in the 2011 Solar Decathlon. The 20 teams hail from five countries on four continents. The competition will take place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in fall 2011. For two weeks, teams of college and university students will compete to design, build, and operate the most affordable, attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. This will be the fifth Solar Decathlon since 2002; last year the winner was Team Germany.

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