As our nation’s leaders continue to ponder the energy crisis and look for answers to the complicated questions and challenges ahead of us, a group of state legislatures gathered together in the nation’s capital October 8-9, 2009, at the National Conference of State Legislatures Solar Policy Institute. Attendees were invited to examine the potential that solar resources have in making a meaningful contribution toward meeting the energy demands of our nation. Issues discussed included technology costs as well as economic and fuel diversity benefits of solar power. Industry experts and policy makers mingled with state legislators in this 2 day event.
State Representative Franklin Foil was one of only 2 legislators invited to this event from Louisiana. Rep. Foil works closely with the Louisiana Solar Energy Society to craft practical and responsible bills that not only promote the use and proliferation of renewable energy, but also help to improve the quality of life of his constituents. When asked about the upcoming legislative session, Foil was optimistic about the future of solar power and renewables in Louisiana. “Contrary to what you may hear, Louisiana is a great state for solar – not only do we have the best tax credits in the nation, but Louisiana gets 5 hours of sun a day.” When Jeff Shaw, founder of LSES and owner of Gulf South Solar asked Foil about his recent trip to Washington, Foil responded, “I was excited to meet with other legislators from the Southeast and exchange ideas about the benefits of solar. It was a unique opportunity to get to work together to bring more clean and renewable solar energy to the Southeast.”
While at the conference, the legislators were brought on a tour of the homes built by participants in the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathalon. Foil was impressed with the imaginative and energy efficient homes he saw there and hopes that lessons learned by the young architects and builders will find practical applications in new home construction. While many of the homes were not affordable to most of us, the technologies and building techniques used can be applied to average homes with huge benefits in energy conservation.
“Having a solar power system installed on your home makes the most sense when your home is energy efficient – you can get so much more of your energy need covered by your solar power system if you take a few steps to make your home more efficient,” says Jeff Shaw. “The return on your investment is a low 5 years in Louisiana for grid-tied systems. Tell me where you can get a guaranteed return on any investment these days that also protects the environment?”
To learn more about solar power, visit the Louisiana Solar Energy Society’s website at www.lses.org.
By: Ann V. Shaneyfelt
Marketing Director, Gulf South Solar
Rep. Franklin Foil was the author of HB 32 which, if it were passed, would have extended the 50% residential solar tax credit to businesses.