Inducement to go solar?

In the state of Washington, electricity is cheap – so cheap that many homeowners wouldn’t bother to put solar panels on their roof to generate electricity without the state’s sales-tax exemption and incentive payments of up to 36 cents for each kilowatt hour of electricity a home produces.

To thwart complaints of “government giveaway,” the nonprofit group Solar Washington has released a study showing that for every dollar of the incentives, $1.30 is paid out in wages to solar-related workers, $1.10 is spent at local businesses and solar companies return 6 cents to the state in taxes.

“We intend to conduct this survey every year from now on,” says David Nicol, Solar Washington’s board president. “The simple fact is that the incentive money … more than pays for itself” – a fact that might nudge other states to dangle a similar carrot for solar conversion.

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