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Solar Energy: As American as the Fourth of July

#SolarChat 5/8/13: Democracy, Politics & SolarGermany is a world leader in solar energy, but the U.S. solar market is growing every day, as evidenced in the SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight Q1 2012 Report. When the topic came up at our recent #SolarChat regarding solar energy as the ultimate expression of freedom, industry members agreed: Solar = Freedom, but many consumers don’t see that yet. We need a cultural paradigm shift here in the States.

In Germany, you’re not a “man” — or, let’s use the words “responsible adult” — unless you’re creating your own electric power. In Israel, solar is a way of life, not an option and certainly not a luxury.

Here in the U.S., consumers are starting to see the value of solar: the environmental benefits, the cost savings, and even the trend-setting technology factor for early adopters. (“Solar is the new iPad.” Think that could catch on?) But it’s not yet been woven into the fabric of American life.

Let’s look at some ways solar energy is actually as “American” as you can get without running down the streets on July 4th in a white beard singing “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Why Solar = Freedom

1. Become independent from your electric company.
If there’s one thing energy experts agree on, it’s that the price of electricity from fossil fuels is only going to go up over the next decade. Additionally, the way Americans purchase electricity may change. You can protect yourself from rising energy prices with a solar PV installation.

2. Be a pioneer in creating a commodity you and your family need to live.
Americans are known for our ingenuity. We are a nation of creative, independent thinkers, from Henry Ford to Steve Jobs. I can’t think of anything more “American” than using cutting-edge technology to create the energy we need to power our homes, to work, to play, to live!

3. Increase our nation’s security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. – Most non-renewable electric power today is created by coal, so unless you have an electric car powered by solar energy, you’re not actually using less oil with a solar PV installation for your home. This is a common misconception.

However, there are circumstances, such as hot water heat, electric heat, and other technologies, that permit homeowners to substitute dirty, expensive oil for clean, free, renewable solar energy.

The most important thing, however, is the mindset shift. The U.S. has plenty of sunshine. With solar, we can create our own power, independent of any other country’s natural resources. As solar technology drops further in price, we’ll begin to rely on solar power for more and more things. Electric cars are just one example.

Sunshine is free. It’s plentiful. It’s easily harnessed. The American culture thrives on freedom and independence. On this day in 1776, the United States became an independent country. Now it’s time to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources. What could be more “American?”

Post Written by
A full-time freelance writer, Dawn frequently covers energy efficiency, green living, and topics like LED lighting and whole home control systems for a number of blogs and technology trade magazines. Dawn is proud to live in New York as the state vies to beat out New Jersey as the East coast top dog of solar energy and is waiting for the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate legislation to pass before installing solar panels on her Long Island home.

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