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Renewable Energy 101- Factors that are driving down the cost of solar power- Part 2

Interview with Wade Webb of Martifer Solar, Part 2 of 2

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Wade Webb is the solar development manager at Martifer Solar, a solar power (photovoltaic) installation company that has been in business since 2006. Mr. Webb previously owned his own solar power systems company, Solar Webb, Inc. from 1995 to 2004 bringing his experience and grasp of the renewable energy industries to over 15 years. He is been certified by the LADWP PV training program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the North American Board of certified energy practitioners (NABCEP) and was involved in the City of Pasadena's Municipal Buildings Photovoltaic Feasibility Study in 2007 which became a part of the City of Pasadena's Green City Action Plan. In addition to working for Martifer Solar, Mr. Webb teaches a hands-on class in solar power installations at the Audubon at Debs Park in Los Angeles.

Q. What kind of financing is available for solar systems?
A. You may have heard about power purchase agreements (PPAs); this is an opportunity for both commercial and residential system owners to basically lease the solar equipment from the company offering the PPA. The company offering the PPA will install the system at no cost, and the company owns the equipment, however the homeowner still enjoys electrical power at a reduced rate. Another way to go is to get a home equity loan for the system, and the interest on that loan can go to reduce your taxes. Three institutions which offer residential loan programs for solar systems are: Clean Power Finance, Western Heritage Financial and Meredith Capital Group.

Q. What kinds of jobs are generated when people buy solar power systems?
A. There are all the people who work to manufacture the equipment, like: solar panels, inverters, stand-offs (this is what we mount the solar arrays on), the wiring, etc. Then we bring in our subcontractors, we work with roofers, electricians, and the people who work for the solar companies: sales people, support staff, installers and office staff.

Q. Tell us about the new project Martifer Solar just completed.
A. We just completed our first 368 kW SmartPark solar carport system for the Antelope Valley Transit Authority. The system covers 35,000 square feet, will provide shade for 110 cars parked there during the day and will eliminate 400 tons of carbon dioxide which would have been generated and pumped into the air by traditional electrical power generation over its 35 year lifespan. The project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and created over 30 green collar jobs in the process.

Q. Where can a resident or business owner find a good solar contractor?
A. If you live in California, you can go to the Go Solar website, if you live in other states you can go to the local city website and search for solar contractors, or use the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) website.

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