Obama shines light on solar energy

The spotlight on renewable energy couldn’t have been trained on a better target when President Obama signed his stimulus bill into law, said a Grand Junction man who has long been involved in solar energy.

“It was significant for Colorado” that the new energy economy was boosted by the president during the signing ceremony, said Lou Villaire of Atlasta Solar Center, 2923 North Ave.

As with the rest of the energy industry, “We’ve been hit with the economic downturn,” Villaire said.

With the coming of spring, and new tax advantages related to solar energy, the prospects for the solar industry appear to be brightening, Villaire said.

One particularly important aspect of the measure for Grand Valley residents calls for more tax credits to be available for solar-thermal installations, projects that use solar energy for heating residences and domestic water.

“The two often work well together,” he said.

The cap of $2,000 on tax credits for such residential installations now could be as high as $10,000, Villaire said.

That expansion accompanies tax advantages for using solar energy to generate electricity that were included in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, he said.

Steps to increase the use of solar energy are important, but just as significant are the measures making incentives available for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances that will reduce consumption immediately, he said.


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