Thursday, August 11, 2011

Alternative Economy: Let the sun shine in

Okay, I will start by telling you that I came up with this plan over coffee. So part of me was likely still trying to wake up. But I believe there is potential here. Also, I welcome all criticism or feedback.
So here's the idea. I propose job creation by the hundreds of thousands while increasing energy independence through solar power and geothermal heating and cooling systems in the U.S. How? Well here it is. Offer homeowners an extremely low interest loan (2% or lower) for the purpose of purchase and installation of a solar power or geothermal system for their home. To make it even more affordable, the loan could be rolled into a cost friendly home refinance. This way the monthly cost of electricity for these homeowners would be under $100 unless their energy use required more. But the good news is that homeowners would largely be insulated from the relentless increases in energy charges from the Dominion Powers (Virginia) of the country because they'll be paying a fixed mortgage type payment for their solar energy.
In many cases a home solar power system or geothermal system would cost $20-25k (Solarcity). Given this figure the U.S. Govt could offer $20 billion a year to homeowners in these low interest loans, resulting in the ability to cover a million homes a year in solar power systems.
This would require literally hundreds of thousands of people to be hired for the production, sales, and installation of these solar panels. Further, the debt, would be in the hands of private citizens and not the U.S. Govt. One stipulation is that all panels purchased with these loans must be U.S. made (the same kind of thing other countries do to create domestic jobs). With this stipulation, you get the jobs.
Further, the energy produced, would offset or eliminate electric bills in many cases leaving a net gain monthly for many homeowners, thereby increasing cash-flow, and increasing the value of their home all in one fell swoop. The resulting cash-flow increase would likely be reinserted into the economy by these consumers or banked. I'd take either result, but would prefer a combination of both.
So with this plan, millions of people go back to work, we kick start alternative energy, we put lots of money back into the economy, and private citizens (not the govt) carry the burden of the loans.
Also, if you're adventurous enough to buy an electric car, you might even be able to stop buying gas at some point.
Now if you want to really get crazy, at 200 billion dollars a year, you cover 10 million homes and could effectively cover over 50% of U.S. homes in 4 years.
Admittedly, this will not eliminate the need for the power companies, nor is it a long term solution, but it is an intermediate step that should be taken to move our country forward.
This is my proposal. Let the bashing begin.

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