Gaiam Real Goods Leads the Way in Solarizing Colorado

Gaiam Real Goods, the first company to provide solar installations in the US, has been making it easy to go solar by fronting the utility company's rebates to customers who purchase solar systems from the company so they don't have to wait for them to arrive.
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BROOMFIELD, Colo., Dec. 6 -- Gaiam Real Goods, the first company to provide solar installations in the US, has been making it easy to go solar by fronting the utility company's rebates to customers who purchase solar systems from the company so they don't have to wait for them to arrive. Between the utility company rebates and the federal tax credits, homeowners are able to save over 60% solarizing their homes. Colorado's largest utility company: Xcel Energy has given $2.7 million in rebates to Colorado customers from the program's beginning on March 1 through September of this year. The combined federal tax credits amount to approximately $2,000 per year for residential customers and a 30 percent debt reduction for commercial use with no cap, even for home-based businesses. This allows for a return on investment greater than 10% annually.

Colorado residents have long been leaders in green living, and there is more that can be done. Boulder recently put into motion a carbon tax which will help fund the city's climate action plan. According to a November 14 New York Times article, the goal is for the city to reduce carbon levels by 24 percent through increasing energy efficiency in homes and buildings, switching to renewable energy and reducing vehicle miles traveled. Colorado Springs made it to number five on Forbes' greenest cities list because it had lower amounts of ozone pollution and particles in the air than most other US cities that were tested. This past year more Colorado residents than ever switched to solar energy because the implementation of utility companies' and federal rebate programs have made it much easier and more affordable to do so.

"Many of our customers like the savings they see in their utility bills each month, but they're also going solar to do their part to mitigate global climate change," said John Schaeffer, president of Gaiam Real Goods, who founded the company in 1978. "They look at it as a contribution. It also just happens to make great economic sense and helps ensure our future health and survival."

Protecting Colorado's environment is also important to its economic health as well. With average temperatures rising and less snow on the ground, the ski industry has suffered. Aspen Skiing and The National Ski Areas Association are among the groups working to increase awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions and slow global warming. Switching to solar energy would greatly reduce carbon emissions from individual homes and businesses.

While the tax rebates offer incentive, it is still up to each individual to make choices that will determine his or her "environmental footprint." The US federal annual budget for research and development of any type of energy (not just alternative or solar) is less than half of what it was 25 years ago, according to a recent New York Times article ("The Energy Challenge: Budgets Falling in Race to Fight Global Warming," by Andrew C. Revkin, 10/30/06). In contrast, federal spending on military research has increased 260 percent and federal spending on medical research has nearly quadrupled during that same time period.

"It's really up to us to do what we know is best," said Schaeffer, whose eco-friendly home "Sunhawk" has been featured in national media as an example of green living.

To determine what would be required to solarize your home or business, the experts at Gaiam Real Goods ask a few questions that can be answered simply by looking at your current energy bills, such as kilowatt hours and average amount of utility bills. Then, they schedule a site visit and plan the installation. Most installations are completed in only one to three days. Gaiam Real Goods takes care of all the details, including securing building permits and employing only reputable licensed contractors.

For a free evaluation or more information, visit Colorado.RealGoodsSolar.com or call 888-212-5643.

About Gaiam
Gaiam, Inc. (Nasdaq: GAIA) is a multi-channel lifestyle media company dedicated to providing solutions for the many facets of healthy, eco-conscious living. Gaiam has earned its place as the market leader with award-winning mind-body health programs, the highest-quality certified 100% organic cotton furnishings and apparel, renewable energy solutions and more. For more information about Gaiam, please visit www.gaiam.com, or call 1-800-869-3603.

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