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NEW FEDERAL INCENTIVES
ADD 'CENTS"
TO SOLAR LIVING

On October 3, 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was signed into law, in an attempt to deal with the current U.S. financial crisis. While the Stabilization Act covers several areas it is historic legislation for the solar industry and those pushing for solar living in a greener world.

"This long-term extension of the solar tax credits will create a domestic solar industry with hundreds of thousands of jobs while providing clean, affordable, carbon-free energy to millions of American families, businesses, and communities," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in response to the bill being passed.

These tax credits are not small pickings. For instance, the 30% tax credit for solar installations, both residential and commercial, has been extended to eight years. For the layman, this means that any solar installation for your home or business receives a 30% tax credit for eight years.

The eight-year extension has other benefits as well. An economic study by Navigant Consulting, Inc forecasted that the extension would create over 440,000 solar manufacturing and installation jobs around the nation.

The federal incentives for solar energy don't bring all pluses, however. Solar living isn't hard, and even without the tax credits it can save the every-day individual a chunk of money, but the solar industry itself is suffering from a lack of people with solar training. That solar training and certification is imperative for the industry to be able to fill those 440,000 job openings.

Some of those solar jobs will be in photovoltaics (PV). Photovoltaics is a method to generate solar power by using packaged solar cells (pv modules) electrically connected by pv arrays, which ultimately coverts the sun's rays into electricity. This area of solar energy alone has expanded dramatically in recent years.

PV isn't the only area that the solar industry could use individuals with solar training. With the increase of solar appliances, green building and many other areas of every-day living, the need for solar training spans several industries. Electricians, roofers, installers and general contracts could all benefit from solar education and the federal incentives.

A general contractor with solar training and certification, for instance, may realize an increased demand for their services. Likewise with roofer, installers and electricians. Simply put, as appliances and installations go from usable resources to reusable resources (i.e. solar energy), the need for people who can install, repair and maintain "green" installations will rise higher.

Homeowners and green energy enthusiasts could also benefit from the knowledge gained by taking solar courses. Not only can a homeowner learn what appliances and installations fall under the 30% tax credit, they can also find out exactly which installations, appliances and changes it would take to turn their home "green".

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