Yes, although tax rebates certainly help. In California a recent law called AB811 authorizes cities to provide loans to homeowners to install solar systems, thus reducing their energy expenditures and helping them green their houses in a way they might not otherwise be able to afford. So surely these measures encourage solar power. However, in the long run I think solar power as a viable energy source is ultimately going to stand or fall based on its economic features, regardless of what tax breaks or rebates the government creates to support it. Since I think that solar power will eventually become cost-effective, I think people will ultimately make the choice to use it. You might get a tax break or even a loan from the government to cover your roof in solar panels, but if it’s ultimately more expensive to you to install and maintain those panels and to use the energy from them than it is to keep on getting your energy from existing sources, you’re probably not going to do it regardless of the subsidy. I think tax breaks and rebates are made to support new technologies like solar power in the critical phase where they are still being introduced and still vulnerable to market forces that might otherwise shut them out. I’d love to have my apartment powered by solar panels, and maybe someday that will become an option as easy and affordable as signing up for an electric utility provider; until that day comes, the rebates help.
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