California is overly dependent on natural gas, the bulk of which is imported from out of state. This dependence leads to global warming pollution, high energy prices and an increasing number of proposals to build natural gas (LNG) terminals off California’s coast. The good news is, California can reduce its dependence on natural gas by becoming more energy efficient and by tapping into our abundant natural resources: namely the sun.
Solar hot water systems are one of the most promising technologies available for widespread use today. The systems can be located directly on the roof of a home or business, just like solar photovoltaic systems (or solar PV). They capture heat from the sun to heat water. This sun-warmed water is then stored and a conventional natural gas water heater in on hand for providing the home or business with any additional hot water needs not met by the solar device. The end result is a 50 to 75 percent reduction in the amount of natural gas used by the home or business for water heating.
Unfortunately, California lacks an incentive program for solar hot water. The Million Solar Roofs bill (SB 1) created an incentive program for solar electric technologies – rooftop systems that turn the sun’s light into electricity as opposed to capturing the sun’s energy to heat water. AB 1470, authored by Assemblyman Jared Huffman (Marin), would create a statewide rebate program to grow a mainstream market for solar hot water systems, building 200,000 roofs within 10 years. The typical cost of a solar hot water system is between $4,000 and $6,000. With a rebate from the state, and continuation of a federal tax credit, such systems could become cost effective from day one if financed through a home loan or could pay for themselves within 8 to 10 years.
With opposition from Sempra, one of California’s largest natural gas corporations, they need your help to ensure AB 1470 passes. Please ask your assembly member to support the Solar Hot Water and Efficiency Act of 2007 (AB 1470 – Huffman). Then, ask your friends and family to help by forwarding this message on to them.
To take action, click on the link