ST. LOUIS – Solar technology dealers are picking up more business across the country today as the Obama administration’s push for renewable energy takes hold and the desire of those wishing to become independent of utility companies spreads among ordinary people.
“The electrical energy grid system is over 100 years old and is outdated and outmoded,” said Dawud Muhammad, owner of JMS Solar Network and Associates, a Black owned solar energy company that provides technical sales, installation, and consulting services on a nationwide basis. “When solar is introduced to the market it helps create competition and decentralizes the existing electrical grid system,” Mr. Muhammad said. “Churches, mosques and homeowners should take a serious look at this (because) we cannot have a 19th and 20th century vision to address a 21st century problem.”
As one of the pillars of a national energy policy, both state and federal government have initiated various incentives to encourage the use of green technology. “Under President Obama’s energy plan to build a smart-grid, and through his economic stimulus bill, most states have solar rebate plans and the federal government offers an additional thirty percent tax credit,” Mr. Muhammad told Wisdom House Online. “Your payback could narrow down household expenses and show a return on your investment in five years.”
Mr. Muhammad, also the host of Black Talk Radio Live, an internet radio talk show which promotes the use of green energy, said financial incentives such as cost savings on electric bills and cash back programs benefit his clients whether they are preparing for emergencies or just wanting to save money.
“I heard brother on Innerlight radio and the things he said pricked at my soul,” said Aletha Ray one of Mr. Muhammad’s clients in Houston, Texas. “We had hurricane Ike in September of ’08 and I had my system but hadn’t used it. I bought it in 2005,” she said.
Ms. Ray told Wisdom House Online that having her solar arrays made all the difference when Ike took down her city’s electrical power and that she was prepared while others were not. “I went and pulled out my solar system and I was able to enjoy some creature comforts, see the TV and listen to the radio,” she said. “My next door neighbor spent a lot of money buying candles and batteries. It’s amazing to me how unprepared Black people are. I would advise everyone to get a solar system even for everyday use because it can also save money and keep your electric bills low”.
Another of Mr. Muhammad’s clients, Joshlalyn Lawrence of Washington D.C., agreed there was a benefit to owning a solar power system and said its value alone was enough to convince her to purchase one. She said the power generated by her solar panels freed her from being a consumer and made her into a producer. “Black people are under economic apartheid as long as we are consumers. We need to be independent,” Ms. Lawrence said. “Seeing what is going on with gas and food, everything is going up. It is common sense to use things that are used naturally. It just made common sense,” she said. “It’s a waste when you have the knowledge of wind and solar and don’t use it.”
Because of the efficiency of the latest generation of solar technology, systems have improved dramatically over the last decade. “There is new technology coming out on the market now that consists of Black silicon which can increase electrical output 100 fold. Systems are improving everyday,” Mr. Muhammad said. “In Canada and England respectively, over one million homes use solar energy and in both Germany and Japan, approximately fifty percent of their entire electrical infrastructures use solar and other renewable green energy sources.”
Mr. Muhammad further stated that beyond solar energy’s practical applications were profound economic opportunities. “Energy must now be looked upon as having some sort of intrinsic value in comparison to currency, gold and silver. By putting into practice economic leveraging, we can position our communities to become solar economic sanctuaries,” he said. “While the president’s plan to create green jobs will offer economic opportunity for some of America’s unemployed, we as Black people should do for self by creating a solar manufacturing plant, not only to supply our own needs, but also to create our own jobs,’ Mr. Muhammad said.