North San Diego County Energy – Planning a Competitive Future
Complicated international incentives and contracts to control greenhouse gases are unlikely to be effective or enforceable, even if they could be agreed on. Waiting for multiple governments with independent agendas to come together, like waiting for world peace, will result in unsatisfactory delay at best and wasted efforts and opportunities at worst.
Thankfully, we can do a lot without grandiose diplomatic gestures. We can act effectively as individuals, neighborhoods and communities to resolve energy delivery inefficiencies, promote cost effective clean energy generation, promote solutions that leverage regional resources and minimize local impact. We can do these things today, with existing technology and accelerate deployment with a little municipal help. We don’t need to go through the motions of talking about it while getting mired in the tar pit of obsolescence. We need to do it and can begin now.
Here is an example of some benefits of a Direct Solar Energy Plan for our community and ideas on how to maximize:
Benefits of Residential Solar Voltaic Panels
Generate power at the point of use.
- Eliminate power loss of long haul distribution lines.
- Reduce fire risk by reducing distribution capacity
- Reduce maintenance on and need for poles and lines
- Minimize service interruptions during weather and tectonic emergencies
Reduce central energy capacity growth.
- Lower residential utility bills.
- Deliver excess solar energy generated to the grid.
- Relieve capital funding for central plants going forward.
- Reduce land set asides for generating and substation growth.
Replace carbon based energy generation with direct solar
- Improve air quality by transitioning to green technology
- Reduce reliance on imported oil
- Add service sector jobs for installers
- Replace cash flowing out to energy companies and oil brokers with investments in new local business
- Retain money paid for energy investment in community banks and businesses
We have an opportunity to step up, take the lead and influence the future independence and stability of our community. Using current commercial business installation models, a household of 3, in an average sized home can finance a cash neutral solar installation with out of pocket expenses between $8,500 and $14,000 after State and Federal incentives and rebates. A program to convert 1,000 homes per year would require about $11M annually, and is well in range of monies available to communities through federal stimulus subsidies.
While there is a good deal of detail work needed to prepare a formal plan, the time to act is now and the opportunity couldn’t be more eminent.