News on solar energy harvesting has been focused lately on individual success with the older style of solar paneling. For example, there is a couple in Minnesota who recently lowered their usage from 850 kwh/month to 120 kwh/month. Another inspiring story is of a car dealership whose entire showroom from coffee makers to computers runs off solar paneling. The government helped fund their installation and now they save over $1,000 a month on energy costs. A considerable move toward energy efficiency can be seen in our government; Chicago politicians have recently undertaken the task of "greening" government over 41 government buildings. The project is already cutting energy costs by $600,000 annually and is projected to save up to $5.7 million annually upon completion all while creating over 375 jobs and requiring no taxpayer contribution.
Efforts to move toward energy efficiency can be seen at the federal level as well. The heavy emphasis on energy efficient lighting by the Obama administration, further underscored in an earlier press conference by President Obama when new energy standards for lighting were announced, is beginning to take hold throughout the real estate industry. Cost effective energy efficiency is the goal and daylight harvesting is increasingly recognized as a solution by both the private and public sectors. So far the Obama administration has already done the following for solar power:
The Interior Department has issued permits to nine utility-scale solar projects in the past year as part of a fast-track review process aimed at using federal lands for renewable energy. This year, the department has given priority status to 19 projects — 10 solar, five wind and four geothermal.
The Energy Department’s loan guarantee program has offered $12 billion alone to solar generation and manufacturing projects.
The EPA has declared greenhouse gas emissions a danger to public health and welfare and is finalizing stricter regulations that will force the country’s largest polluters to reduce emissions.
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