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Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

Opinion: California Has an Opportunity to Push Its Climate Agenda Without Pushing It Down People’s Throats

Earth Day is on April 22nd, and environmentalism continues to be a highly debated topic in politics and social spaces.
Aerial View of Houses with Solar Panels Along the Road Creative Commons

Where I live, people are tired of the government shoving its agenda down their throats. But with climate change, there’s no need for the government to do that. 

The government needs to incentivize clean energy by helping people want to get it instead of imposing its will in a way that breeds resentment. Many people believe that to help the climate, they must always lose money, and that doesn’t have to be true. However, in many states, installing solar panels could lead to an increase in property taxes. Installing solar panels increases the value of your home, which in turn increases the amount you pay in property taxes. 

Fortunately, if you live in California, the government has a property tax exclusion for solar. It is called the Active Solar Energy System Exclusion. However, the sunset date for this statute is January 1, 2025. It may seem far away, but people who are looking to get a solar system might reconsider because they look at added property tax as an added expense. It should be extended indefinitely. 

Lawmakers might believe the savings from the property tax exclusion don’t amount to much, but the government should offer every incentive to transition from fossil fuels. If it is so small, it wouldn’t matter to the government, but it will matter to the residents who are on the fence about whether or not to get solar. Property tax should never deter someone from adopting clean energy. 

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In addition, when people are calculating how much they save by getting solar versus how much they spend, all the numbers they have to add up on the spending side of the equation might dissuade them from getting it. Eliminating added property tax will reduce the confusion surrounding the decision of whether or not to get solar panels. The government should do whatever it can to make getting solar the easiest decision possible and take something out of the spending side of the equation, namely, more property tax.

In addition to extending the deadline, California lawmakers should also publicize the measures that have been put in place. Many people know about the property tax exclusion, but most of these people already have a strong interest in adding solar to their homes. California should target climate skeptics or those who don’t think about climate change very often. They should put up billboards and put the message where people who aren’t so involved can see it, instead of putting it on a website where only people already interested in solar or very interested in what is going on in the government can see it.

California is already booming in the solar sector, with it providing 28% of our electricity generation. It is already the highest solar-producing state in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop there. California still has so much unrealized potential on the solar front. 

Governor Gavin Newsom plans to reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 and 95% by 2040, in an effort to reach 100% by 2045. Instead of fossil fuels, we would have to use renewable resources and zero-carbon sources. If people stop installing solar panels at a rapid rate, we are unlikely to reach that goal. 

The Active Solar Energy System Exclusion might have a long, boring name, but the voters in California shouldn’t have to deal with a long, boring process to embrace clean energy.

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About the Contributor
Esha Suhag
Esha Suhag, Staff Writer
Esha Suhag is a freshman at Granite Bay High School. This is her first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.

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  • V

    Vanessa T.May 8, 2024 at 11:41 pm

    It’s sad how people buy into solar panels without researching the toxic materials that are used to manufacture them. Once solar panels breakdown, and they need to be replaced, and they end up in landfills (yes, they are not recycled) where these toxic chemicals leak into the soil and eventually in ground water, which ends up in our drinking water and our bodies.

  • D

    Didar SinghApr 23, 2024 at 9:12 pm

    Very well written. Analytical and conveys the message very well.