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Pitch

Encourage policy changes that provide tangible solutions to "climate change" that are affordable to the average homeowner.


Description

Summary

This proposal is just an idea to hopefully change the overall mindset regarding solutions to climate change and improving how we affect our planets resources.

Someone much smarter than I will need to work this out, but it's my belief that the current focus on climate change fact/fiction is what drives a wedge between those who would like to improve our planet, but don't believe climate change itself is an issue and creates backlash preventing real change from occurring as quickly as it could.

This proposal uses solar power at the individual home level as an example of how to influence acceptance of "climate change" initiatives among a wider portion of the population regardless of their views on climate change.

Not everyone is sold on the "fact" of man influenced climate change, or even climate change itself as a problem that needs addressed.  But most people can agree we need to be better stewards of our planet and its resources.

We all want cleaner air and water and healthier soils to grow our crops in.  We also want to use our planets resources more responsibly.  Fortunately, doing things that address these issues also works to limit many possible negative aspects a carbon tax would seek to address.

Changing the focus from climate change fact/fiction to one that addresses our natural resources as well as national security through lowering the need for fossil fuels would be a much better solution.

Most homeowners cannot afford the up front investment required to install solar panels, either due to a lack of cash on hand, or poor credit.  My proposal seeks to help alleviate these concerns and make solar power (or similar, location specific options) achievable for everyone while also helping to drive down prices and encouraging even more investment in newer technologies.

 


What actions do you propose?

This solution seeks to use starter money from the Federal government coming from such sources as a potential carbon tax.

There are many obstacles to getting widespread acceptance for a carbon tax.  Some examples are listed below-

-Lack of belief in climate change being influenced by people (I am included in this group).

-No clear, tangible results being obtained from yet another tax on people who may believe the tax only supports lining pockets of various corporations chosen by the gov't.

-No widespread reason for everyone to support a carbon tax because they see the growing burden of taxes, without directly benefiting themselves.

-Growing mistrust of the general population that the government is using their money responsibly.

Instead of creating a tax that relies on people hoping for a return on their investment, this proposal would allow people to personally benefit from their support.

This plan would use a voucher system to allow homeowners to install solar panels on their homes while continuing to pay their normal monthly utility bills.  From the homeowners point of view, not much would change up front, and in the end they would own a potential money saving energy producing system outright.

The homeowner would be issued a voucher to be used at a local solar installation service of their choice.  Letting the consumer choose their provider would help eliminate any friction from people concerned about the government picking and choosing winners in business.

The installation company would turn the voucher in to the appropriate government entity and receive half of the funds up front (or whatever is determined to be the correct amount) so as to purchase the panels from their provider.

Once the installation is complete and checked for compliance (where necessary), the installation company would receive the rest of the money for the work.

Once this has been completed, the homeowner would continue to pay their electric bill at their normal rates based on usage until the original installation costs have been recouped.  The electric companies would return the monthly electric bills, up to the amount generated by the panels, to the government so it could be put back into the system allowing for installations on more homes, and down the road, for upgrades on systems that have become obsolete, or have reached the end of their useful life. 

This allows every home to afford solar panels for their homes without increasing their monthly out of pocket expenses.  It also gives them a tangible benefit while creating more widespread acceptance of alternative energy.

Some guidelines would need to be created to ensure proper return on the investments as well.  Such as requiring a minimum efficiency level on systems installed on homes, as well as a maximum dollar amount allowed for each voucher.  The remaining money needed for a top end system, for example, would come out of the homeowners pocket.

There would also need to be an inspection of the installed system to ensure the proper guidelines are followed.

Another requirement I believe would be necessary is that the panels are sourced from companies that produce in country allowing for as much money as possible to remain in country, if not in state.

This proposal would create jobs by creating a higher demand for the product which would translate into new production facilities as well as installation companies and inspection people.


Who will take these actions?

The government would supply the up front money for the new panel installations through a voucher system.  This money would potentially come from a carbon tax.

The homeowner would select their provider of choice allowing for a better free market result by not picking and choosing which companies win through government selection.  They would continue to pay their monthly utility bills as normal, at the current rates, until the up front voucher money has been paid back.

The utility company would return the money paid to them for any energy that was produced by the panels.  Any extra energy needed would be paid for at current energy rates and kept by the local utility.


What challenges will be faced in implementing this proposal and how will they be overcome?


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?


What are other key benefits?

The main benefit to this proposal is that with a tangible return on investment, more people are likely to approve regulations and taxing schemes to try and combat climate change.  

This would, in my opinion, provide a widespread acceptance and encouragement of policy that can actually make a difference for our planet.

 


What are the proposal’s costs?


Time line


Related proposals


References