Grants for Solar Energy

Solar energy is energy generated from the sun and as such is considered a renewable energy. The market for solar products is on the rise. Any homeowner can look to solar to reduce their utility bills. Solar can be used to heat swimming pools, heat the water in water heaters, and even go as far as make a home completely independent from the power grid (referred to as going “off grid”).

It is not only an interest in saving money that drives people to look toward solar energy. For many it is an interest in doing the right thing for our planet. In just one hour, a sufficient amount of sunlight reaches the earth to meet energy needs of the entire planet for an entire year. To be able to harness even a small amount of that power will lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

The problem, however, is that the equipment needed to supply a typical 5-kilowatt home is a very costly in the short run even though it will eventually pay for itself. Thanks to new government programs and tax credits, homeowners can receive home solar energy grants to make it more affordable. There are also funds available for businesses and organizations.

Since federal grants for solar energy typically are allocated to the states, you need to check with your state to see what grants for solar energy are available. One place to start looking is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) http://www.dsireusa.org/.

One of the forerunners for solar energy is a state aptly nicknamed the “Sunshine State” – Florida. Already in place are many programs working toward energy independence. Partially due to these programs, there is an increase in the use of solar by Florida homeowners, businesses and even universities. For example:

  • SunSmart Schools E-Shelters (Emergency Shelters) Program. This program looks to provide 90 emergency shelter schools with a 10-kilowatt solar energy system with battery back-up. Other schools may receive a 1 or 2 kilowatt (kW) demonstration system.

  • Florida Gulf Coast University. A 16-acre, 2-megawatt solar field that took nearly two years to complete – currently the largest system on a university.

  • Florida Power & Light (FPL). In October 2009, President Obama was present when FPL opened a 25 megawatt photovoltaic plant in DeSoto County, near Arcadia. The 180-acre solar farm is currently the largest in the nation. They are currently working on what will be the world’s second-largest solar plant – it will be situated across 500 acres north of West Palm Beach.

If you want to learn more about what Florida is doing, check out the Florida Solar Energy Center’s site at http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/.

The Internet has a wealth of information about other states as well. Take some time to read up on the solar energy programs in your state and you may find programs that will help you power your home in a cleaner more economic way.

Leave a Reply