As we remember form Dr. Webber's talk on Texas, we have the potential to be an energy leader here in Texas. And if you were there when Dr. Vliet talked, he mentioned a little about the cost of solar energy and the payoff time for some conventional systems. Vliet also spoke about the rebate program's available, and I'd like to expand on that discussion with regard to Austin.
Locals here at Austin Energy are taking a positive step forward by offering their own rebate/incentive programs for a range of different energy efficiency and green energy applications. For example, Austin Energy give a rebate of $4.50 per Watt for solar PV systems. This could potentially pay for half of a typical solar PV system. Austin Energy has similar rebates for solar water heaters, air conditioning systems, heat pump water heaters, solar screens, and other home improvement that reduce energy consumption.
It should also be noted that these incentives are in addition to any national government rebates that are available. I am amazed at how little I hear about these programs and incentives. To me it seems like we're not doing enough to advertise and educate the general population about these programs, and I don't think most contractors are interested in trying to incorporate these products into their jobs because it means they will be spending additional time on one building when they could be making money on another.
In conclusion I want to urge everyone who reads this to try to talk about the available incentives and rebates to a few friends over the next couple weeks, and urge those you talk to to do the same. Even if we influence one person to buy a solar PV or solar water heater it's a success. I know we can do a better job of spreading the word than what is currently being done.