Recent evidence lends further weight to TDG's June predictions: while the housing market continues to struggle, green building features may provide sellers with a leg up on competition.
"Those builders are seeing that they'll get more buyers coming to their developments when they have solar. They sell like hot cakes," Bernadette del Chiaro, an energy specialist at the advocacy group Environment California, told the Los Angeles Times. The Times also quoted Julie Blumden, a vice president at San Jose-based solar tile maker SunPower Corp., as pointing out that the increase in sales velocity is actually paying for the solar systems.
This is extremely exciting news for renewable energy advocates, since the slow pay-off rate of the technology has long been cited as one of the biggest hurdles to widespread adoption. At the recent Solar Power 2007 conference in Long Beach, participants claimed they are seeing an unprecedented boom for their industry. Federal tax credits continue to be a positive factor, as is California's pioneering Million Solar Roofs rebate program. The Golden State has long been the dominant leader in this area.
Improving technology and uncertainties in the housing market are clearly contributing to solar energy's recent rays of hope. Record high oil prices and on-going violence and instability in the Middle East may be playing a role as well, brought even closer to home for some by the president of Iran's recent controversial speech at Columbia University.
As world leaders try to grapple with our species' energy, political, human rights and environmental challenges, more and more builders and homeowners across the country are trying to do their part for a cleaner, safer planet. Economic factors may be making it a little easier. Rays of hope indeed.
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