Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton seems set to become one of the world’s most ardent advocates for renewable energy, particularly solar power. A video posted to her campaign website calls for a new approach to energy. “You don’t have to be a scientist to take on this urgent issue that threatens us all” says Clinton.
Underlining the importance of renewable energy in our day-to-day lives, Clinton noted that 700,000 Asthma attacks and 3,000 premature deaths per year have already been prevented thanks to reduced emissions and the solar power industry. She also touches on the economic benefits and observes that 50,000 new jobs and enormous investments have been generated by the growing US renewable energy industry.
But Clinton is set to take it to the next level, surpassing the goals already announced by President Obama. She commits to meeting a target of half a billion solar panels within her first term in office – and she says that within 10 years, every home in the US will be powered by renewable energy. That’s a big change if you take the fact that over 85% of US energy is currently obtained through the use of fossil fuels.
Can her renewable energy goals be achieved?
To achieve this massive solar power objective, Clinton will increase the budget earmarked for use as government grants to incentivize clean energy as well as offering more tax breaks. Public land will also be employed for the generation of solar power – but Clinton doesn’t rule out the extraction of fossil fuels “until alternatives are in place” – a stance that seems reasonable, but fails to satisfy climate change protestors. Nevertheless, if a plan such as the one outlined by Clinton is implemented, the progress towards clean energy generation will be twice as great as it would be under current US policy.
Will the American public be receptive to solar power?
Analysts say that Clinton may have difficulty in getting the American people to support her initiative, saying that people care more about costs than they do about climate change. But whether Clinton is to be our next president or not, the cost-savings that can be obtained through solar energy are already motivating members of the public and businesses to adopt solar power generation. The figures regarding current the growth in solar power generation are already a strong indicator of the fact that Americans are increasingly turning to renewable energy.
Installation costs have dropped, tax incentives are already in place, and everyone likes the idea of ‘free’ electricity. And the payback time and potential savings to be obtained by using solar power have been researched. These vary from state to state, but the savings conservatively predicted average $20,000 over 20 years. Payback time is also variable, but can be as quick as 4 years – plus, just having solar panels adds considerable resale value to your home. Then there’s the opportunity of ‘selling’ power back to the grid if you generate more than you use. Taking that into account, the savings and time needed for a solar installation to pay for itself could be even more favorable.
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