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Mandatory solar power
by Jeff Blanck
Jul 07, 2008 | 794 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nevada is blessed with more than 300 days of sunshine a year. We are a natural location for the expansive use of solar power. So why aren’t we doing it? I don’t know.

The argument against solar is that it costs more. If we are planning for the long-term it more than pays for itself. Retrofitting buildings is costly so why don’t we just start with new buildings? Why not require all new homes to have solar-powered air conditioners and water heaters? We could mandate the same for commercial buildings.

The naysayers say that it will drive up housing prices. Home prices are going up anyway. But think of the possible energy savings. Your air conditioner use in the summer would cost nothing. Your hot water would cost nothing. It would be a benefit to the environment and people would be contributing to the solution.

When the air got bad in the winter in Washoe County we restricted the use and number of wood stoves and fireplaces. And guess what, the air got better. If the county mandated the use of solar power, we would have a comparable improvement in the reduction in pollutants associated with energy production.

There is no downside to this. It would create more jobs in solar panel production, installation and repair. The existing power suppliers may not like it but they need to go the way of the dinosaur or else we will.

Nuclear power is not an option because we still don’t know what to do with the radioactive waste and it is very expensive. Clean coal is an oxymoron. Digging for more oil is absurd. The oil will eventually run out. It is a fixed commodity. We need to look beyond oil. Digging up the planet until there is no place else to dig is just plain crazy. Oil is not the only energy source.

We, in Nevada, have a chance to be proactive and be leaders in the area of solar energy implementation. Many of us are fed up with just being reactive. With the proper leadership we can accomplish a great deal. Nevada is a leader in geothermal power. We can do the same with solar.

One definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing but expect a different result. We have been doing the same thing for too long. It is no longer sufficient to say, “We have always done it this way.” Life is constant change and we need to change with it. We don’t need to wait for an energy crisis or even higher gas prices to find solutions to our problems. The old motto of Outward Bound sums it up: “Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance.” Let’s do something good for our future. Let’s mandate the use of solar power.

Jeff Blanck is an attorney in private practice in Reno. He can be reached at:
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July 21, 2008
Additionally, our area has a lot wind. We should be able to make it a blessing and be allowed to install wind turbines. Unfortunately, some of the residential areas have strict CC&Rs and prohibit turbines, solar panels, artificial turf, etc. The architectural committees of these "upscale" communities should rethink the "going green" aspect and allow these types of improvements to our homes. It could be done aesthetically pleasing and be good for the environment.
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