What if we lived in a country where the government actually cared about the environment as much as they claim to? Sure federal, state, and local governments add 'incentives' for renewable energy. But what if they mandated it? The possibilities would be endless.
Imagine if there was a federal mandate that all new houses being constructed require at least a certain percentage of their electric use to be from a renewable resource, on average that comes to about 1.5 million new homes each year adding solar or wind power
This would be the ideal time to switch to solar or wind anyway. Your already shelling out a large sum of money for the construction of your house, why not kick an extra $10,000 or $15,000 to benefit both yourself and the environment?
It would be a win-win-win situation. First (and foremost) this would be a tremendous effort in carbon footprint reduction across the nation. Second, it's a well known fact that adding solar or wind energy to your home increases the overall value of the property. So that is an immediate win right there.
And lastly, the not-so-dreaded electric bill. Think about it... Your house is brand new and I assume very well insulated and equipped with energy efficient heating and cooling. The electricity produced from the solar or wind would decrease or eliminate your already lowered electric bill.
In just the coarse of 10 years, this mandate would affect about 15 million homes in the US. That's 15 million ADDITIONAL energy efficient homes utilizing clean, renewable energy. Now imagine the same mandate on all newly constructed commercial and industrial buildings.
The increase demand for solar and wind equipment would tremendously lower the overall costs, and produce thousands more jobs in the solar and wind industry across the nation.
The problem: Politics
There are a lot of politics at play when it comes to the electric grid in our country. As David Roberts from Grist.org points out, electric companies stand to lose a lot of money from individual solar houses.
Personally, I could care less how much they could lose. The important thing is that we change how we treat our environment. Solar energy is completely clean and renewable energy, and is a necessary step regardless of who stands to lose what. It's what we stand to lose if we don't change that's important.