I asked him about the solar hot water system, and he said, “still working.”
Without the subsidy I would not have been able to afford to put the system on the roof of the Seattle house. Even so, it was a stretch, but I could do it.
Admittedly, most homeowners who put on solar panels are not likely to recoup their financial outlay in the system, at least not in the short term. Really, it is an investment or a contribution, in a small way, to making our corner of the planet a better place by reducing the need for power production by more carbon intensive methods, such as natural gas or coal-burning generators. While one roof will not make a significant difference to Clark Public Utilities’ total load, 500 or 1,000 roofs really might.
A direct subsidy, such as $2,500, could make the difference to many homeowners who would love to put solar panels on the roof, but don’t have the startup capital. Encouraging solar roof panels also has a beneficial ripple effect, both for the Washington companies who produce panels, and for the solar contractors who do the installation and hookup work. And the work would be local.
Since the Legislature just finished its session, there is time to plan for a bill in the next session to give further encouragement to homeowners to make this investment in a less carbon-dependent future. The city may or may not have funds that could be directed toward this project, but it would be a way of moving the city closer toward carbon neutrality, which is a stated goal of city government.
Every small thing we can do to help head off the slow-moving disaster of climate change is a good thing.