chapter  5
Building an Equitable Solar Future: A Primer on How Not to Bungle the Energy Transition
WithSteven Ferrey
Pages 29

Like many of the energy technologies which emerged before renewables, such as coal, natural gas or oil, solar is a pivotal technology which will fundamentally mold the infrastructure and environment of societies which deploy it. Opinion surveys indicate that the public views solar energy as one of the few positive and uplifting aspects of life as we enter the 1980’s. With a few exceptions, the primary mechanisms chosen by the Carter Administration to stimulate the residential/commercial solar markets were tax credits and subsidized loans. The proposed Solar Bank legislation would augment existing but unfunded authority in the 1978 Energy Tax Act to offer subsidized interest, long-term loans for solar energy systems. However, when solar technology is viewed as a community resource, the economics and feasibility of urban solar become much more promising. Unless specific exemptions are enacted for solar improvements, addition of a solar device could significantly contribute to yearly property tax bills.