Colin McEnroe Show: The Alternative Energy All-Stars

Want to save energy? Get all your questions answered.

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Colin McEnroe Show: The Alternative Energy All-Stars
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Colin McEnroe Show: The Alternative Energy All-Stars

Today's show is intended mainly to answer questions about ways you can adapt your own living space to use alternative energy sources.

But let's take few moments to whine about the collapse of Connecticut's once-upon-a-time incentive program that was a model for the rest of the nation. At its peak, by one reckoning, Connecticut was third in the nation in the amount of solar installed. Now we're 18th. Maybe even more significantly, this was real job creation. The energy incentives created jobs that didn't exist otherwise and those jobs -- by their very existence -- created a far reaching series of benefits for the average householder. They lowered energy bills and helped the environment.

The tax credits we pump at the film industry don't have the same multiplier effect.
Leave your comments below, e-mail or Tweet us @wnprcolin.



Reply to Jim

While that cost sounds reasonable, most homeowners should be eligible to receive the 30% federal tax credit. Please check with your CPA for more information about this. All homeowners in CT are eligible for the property tax and sales tax exemptions on solar equipment, and there is a rebate program in Connecticut that is not income restricted. Vist for more information about CT's solar rebate program. This should help with approximately 20% of the cost of the system.

Reply to Mike

Supposedly this funding will be restored in the new budget proposed by the Governor. We will have to wait and see if it is passed to know for sure.

E-mail from Carl

I needed to open my kitchen ceiling to repair some winter snow damage I found that the joist bay against the outside wall has no insulation in it its above the cabinets the only way in is the hole I cut above the refrigerator their is a pipe in the space. What are my options including type of material to insulate the space and who would take on a small job like this.

E-mail from Mike

Can you ask Kristin about the reductions in the H.E.S. program. It is a great program that is being hurt by recent changes reducing the amount of audits preformed.

E-mail from Jim

My wife and I recently had a solar energy company come in and give us as estimate for a new system. After spending a few hours on our property and our house for evaluation, they gave us an estimate of $40,000 for the hardware and the installation. WIth our current monthly electric bill, the pay-back period would be about 24 years. (We were not eligible for a state or federal rebate because our household income was over the threshold.)
Does this estimate sound accurate, or was I about to be taken to the cleaners?
Also, I have heard that CFL's contain mercury, and pose a hazard if they break. How true is this?

E-mail from Stephen

Please have your guests comment.

There are at least 2 reasons to decrease our use of oil

- Political benefits of not being beholden to OPEC

- Environmental benefits

Rather that predicting the best alternatives and subsidizing them (e.g. ethanol) our country would be better off

taxing gasoline to $6 or $7 a gallon putting a predictable floor for people with ideas to use in experimenting. As it is now, alternatives have a hard time predicting returns on investment because gasoline prices swing around so much.

Two advantages

- People with ideas will come forward

- We wont end up with solutions that don’t work economically (Ethanol needs a subsidy, uses more energy than it creates AND importantly raises food prices)