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A Bend businessman who specializes in solar energy for consumers says it's no longer a "fringe" movement- it's very widespread- especially in sunny Central Oregon. It may be widespread, but solar power is still controversial when it comes to mandates and tax breaks. Some say solar power is expensive and still not very efficient. Mike Hewitt, owner of E-2 Solar in Bend says the efficiency of solar power is not the main issue: “We don't look at solar as the only energy source out there. We're moving up on a time that we have to diversify our energy in the United States. We're seeing that the crisis in Japan is just one of the examples. We heard the President talk last night about being able to diversify our energy; solar is not going to be the only solution. We have to look at bio-mass, we have to look at wind, we have to look at solar." Hewitt also says each person's break even point is different depending on tax breaks, how much sun we get and how much power costs increase.   An Oregon-based conservative think tank, the "Cascade Policy Institute" believes that mandates from the state forcing power companies to use renewable energy will raise rates in Oregon.

 

 

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