Reviews | Iowa must provide solar power
Solar energy will be one of the key tools in the fight against climate change.
One of the main causes of climate change is the way electricity is produced – by burning fossil fuels. To combat the use of fossil fuels, scientists, activists and economists have advocated to make renewable fuels, such as wind and solar power, more accessible to the general public.
Therefore, to fight climate change, the state government must get the people of Iowa to build more solar panels.
Iowa has actually done a great job of addressing issues related to climate change. The state has worked hard to facilitate the transition of the electricity sector away from fossil fuels. Coal, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels, produced nearly 71% of Iowa’s energy in 2010. Fast forward to 2020, and that number has dropped to 22%.
In its place, wind power has become the fuel of choice for utility companies, accounting for 60% of the energy created in Iowa.
Those responsible for the utility grid are also expected to start developing seven large projects across the state that will make solar power a centerpiece of the energy sector. It is estimated that these projects will add 1,740 megawatts, or nine times the current capacity of solar power.
Despite all the progress we have made, coal still plays an important role in consuming carbon-intensive energy, and as long as coal is a popular fuel source, climate change will continue to advance. Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, which means that when burned, it releases 214.3 to 228.6 pounds of carbon dioxide per million Btu, more than any other fossil fuel.
However, coal was gradually abandoned in favor of renewable sources. To speed up this process, the Iowa government must convince communities to build solar panels. It can do this in two ways: put in place a tax on coal consumption or provide a subsidy to local businesses to build more solar panels.
Since consumption taxes are very unpopular among the general population, it would be much better to provide subsidies to local businesses and households as they correct for positive externalities – societal benefits that markets may not save for. certain goods or services.
In the Iowa market for solar panels, the current installation price can range from $ 13,770 to $ 18,630. However, solar panels provide a benefit to humanity by not emitting pollution that is not factored into the market price.
So, if we are to correct the externality, the government has to find a way to lower the price of solar panels and persuade homeowners to build them.
Until last May, the state government offered a tax credit to homeowners and businesses for the construction of solar panels. Since then, the tax credit has expired and 760 Iowans have lost $ 3,200.
While it’s disappointing that one of the primary ways Iowa encourages its residents to purchase solar panels has gone, there is an opportunity to replace it with something better. The problem with tax credits is that they are a convoluted nightmare and an administrative burden that some families do not even have access to.
A better policy for rewarding people who install solar panels is to pay them through the Social Security Administration. In this way, the process would be simplified and more people would consider powering their homes with solar energy.
Iowa has come a long way over the past decade in terms of transitioning to clean energy use. That being said, until we find a cost effective way to get people to build solar panels, the fight against climate change will continue.
Columns reflect the views of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.