Remember my post today about McCain’s $5,000 a car tax break giveaway to the auto manufacturers who make and sell zero-carbon emissions cars?

If so, do you recall how I said it was a bad idea, and that he should instead be proposing giving consumers tax breaks because incenting consumption is the only way we can make sure that this sub-industry is sustainable and therefore viable?

Well, looks like Japan is adopting the market driven model…

The Japanese government will introduce tax credits and subsidies to encourage household use of solar energy starting next year. The details will be determined in August when the budget is created. The incentive will decrease the cost of a solar photovoltaic system by an estimated 50% within 3 to 5 years.

This initiative will make solar energy especially appealing because the cost of electricity in Japan is already over $.20 a kWh. This is roughly double the rate of electricity found in many areas of the US. Increased production of solar components can help the cost to decrease by creating an economy of scale. This solar incentive will also assist Japan in becoming more energy independent and less reliant on volatile fossil fuel markets.

The more consumers who put less strain on the grid, the easier it is on the country as a whole and the cheaper energy gets for others.

Could this idea work stateside? I can’t help but think it would. But the incentive has to be put into the hands of consumers, not the manufacturers. I’m glad to see Japan gets that, and I’m still puzzled why a guy like McCain doesn’t.

Home Science/Environment Japan To Cut Solar Panel Costs By 50%