Once in a while, I think about adopting the different forms of alternative energy right here in our home. Though I understand that the cost is quite expensive; solar panels are not cheap at all but, the long-term benefits are far greater. So far, I have only ensured home insulation and bought a few energy star appliances towards my contribution to the green cause.
This saga of going green is of one of my colleagues, Cindy, who lives in a single family home. They are slowly transforming their suburban home into a sustainable one:
Cindy’s husband is a businessman and owner of a couple of restaurants. They have money to live life they wish for. One of her wishes was to help the environment. They studied, researched and installed solar power modules at their home. Now they are planning even planning for mini wind mill installation.
They did study different forms of renewable energy before adopting Solar energy first. As it turns out, they could actually fit a few solar panels in the backyard to power some of the appliances and several solar panels on the roof to sustain for at least 2/3 of the day.
Below is a calculator that can estimate the savings and environmental impact of going solar
Now let’s get going with the original story. She has been using renewable energy for 3 years now, and, as per her, there is absolutely no regret. She learned to enjoy the following:
Her electricity bill is lot less compared to mine
A lot of environmental pundits say our electric companies are evil. For me, they are not. They just need to let you pay a lot because the fuel they are using is slowly depleting. It is like gold. Gold is a valuable material because it is not found in a lot of areas all over the world.
Needless to say, because she is no longer dependent on the fuel they are using, They do not have to pay several hundred dollars to energy companies on a monthly basis. In fact, in near future, there is a good chance they would not be needing them anymore. Bust just to give you an idea how much money she had saved, it is roughly around 40 to almost 50 percent. Not bad at all.
She gets to save money in the long term
With the solar panels, she roughly paid close to $6,000. Their power is just enough for home. I know of some places where people have to spend more than $10,000, and that is even before rebates and tax credits. However, I would like to think long term. The amount is only a one-time fee. Most of all, considering the savings she gets from the electricity bill, she will be able to recoup her investment in a few years’ time.
It is renewable
A lot of alternative energy options are renewable. They never run out, unless, of course, the sun loses its power. Hopefully, that is going to be billions of years away. Earth will also never run out of wind till we are living. It may turn awful, but it can still produce a lot of power to turn on turbines. Simply put, they always have different sources of power with them; and this is, in essence, for free.
She can get tax breaks
Right now, Florida does not have any tax break yet for wind energy systems. However, she was able to enjoy the benefits as below
- Reduce your energy bill, and in many areas the utility company may buy back any extra electricity you generate from your solar-powered home system.
- By installing solar hot-water heaters, she gets a rebate of $500
- If the home is solar-powered, it increases the home equity and ultimately the selling price.
- Various rebates and incentives through city and county programs.
- Solar energy systems are permanently exempt from Florida sales tax.
She applied for residential renewable energy tax credit by the federal government, which is equal to 30 percent. Yup, a whopping 30 percent. And as the country becomes more aware of the significance of this renewable energy, hopefully, they will provide more tax breaks and more families will adopt the systems.
She can actually make a lot of money from it in future
She’s not started selling because the power generated is just sufficient for her home. However, there are programs from local electricity company where you can distribute the excess power to the grid and, in turn, earn money.
Helping the environment
Cindy and her husband are fulfilling their commitment to help the mother planet. They are helping their children and our children by reducing their carbon footprint. If we all do our part sincerely this planet would become easier to live. No matter what financial goals you have, whether it’s a short term goal or longer term, you can check out your options for adopting green. You may find something.
I learned a lesson from Cindy, readers, did you? Is your home green or are you planning to make your home green?
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We looked into installing solar panel on our building’s roof. It didn’t work out for some reasons. I think the cost was too high and it won’t generate much electricity.
I would love to install some panels if I own a house though.
Good thing is the PVCs are getting smaller, cheaper and more efficient every day. I am waiting for a day when our cars run on solar energy for most part. Technology and natural resources should complement each other
101 Centavos says
I’ve considered a ground source heat pump system, but the initial cost has held us back. It’s a mental hurdle only, since it’s an investment with a proven payback.
The initial cost is holding many of us back. Ever considered leasing equipment?
101 Centavos says
Not sure if the lease option is available for GSHP’s in my area. There’s quite bit of sunk cost, such as borehole drilling for residential applications.
We’ve done a lot to make our house more energy-efficient, and it’s paid off in dropping electrical bills. I would like to install solar (hello, I live in Arizona, so why not?) but so far it’s not quite there yet cost-wise. I imagine we’ll look into it harder in the next couple of years.
I have the exact same plan, and I am in sunny Florida 🙂
Robert @ The College Investor says
I’m seriously thinking about solar panels. They keep coming down in price. However, new regulations may limit how much you can actually sell back, so it could change the entire equation.
Still the save in bill would compensate for the one time cost. Don’t people buy hybrid knowing that they have to drive 15 or more years to compensate for the higher cost? Its about helping the nature and the planet as well.
D. Ekstrand says
Solar panels have become so popular in Australia that the electricity they feed is overloading the their grid and folks are being asked to disconnect. In a way, it’s a nice problem to have. Just be aware that when/if this happens in the States, that rebates, the ability to sell electricity back to the power companies, and the tax advantages are all likely to disappear – so be careful if you are factoring them into a payback analysis.
That’s a nice perspective. The tax break shouldn’t any way last multi year. And it would be wise to think that in next 2 years excess generation will not be happening here. Good to know about Australia’s problem of plenty.
I would love to have some wind turbines connected to our house but right now the cost is more than I am comfortable with paying. Going greener with solar or wind energy is something I would definitely look into in our future.
Good to know Niki. I am planning to install it in my new home..buying in a couple of years probably.
Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter says
We try to live as green as we can and we have been making changes each year to do this better. We haven’t yet been able to change our source of heat or power but it is in the works. Actually where we live, our source of power throughout the province is hydro so I guess we are ahead of the curve already.
Good to know that Miss T. This possibility of installing Solar modules has potential to generate money as well.
Dannielle @ Odd Cents says
Solar panels are cool, but the costs could be a huge turn-off. I live in Barbados where it’s sunny all year round, and we’re only now getting into using solar panels to power our homes. However, for years we’ve been using solar water heaters. The big push has come because of ridiculously high electricity bills which are expected to get higher. Solar panels can be installed, but the prices are upwards of BDS $10k (USD $5k) 🙁
SB, I’ve been noticing how solar energy has started creeping into our lives. Almost all walkway lamps in our neighborhood are solar powered! I’ve also noticed ads for motion detecting solar lamps which I think is a very cool idea!
The cost is still high, but we are getting there. Solar panels on the roof would be awesome, but the barrier to entry is too high at the moment, but I think it will come down.
Here’s to a greener future!
Financial God says
There have been some reports of ridiculous instances of fraud in Europe (IIRC) with people running diesel generators to feed their solar panels so they could sell back to the grid at 5x market price. :S
In spite of goofs like this, solar is starting to become a real viable option, and I am happy to see it do so.
I am sure there are regular inspection being performed to trap those silent generators.
I really wanted to get on the solar band wagon but I was informed our city has banned solar power. We also live where we can have major hail storms and I was afraid the solar panels would get destroyed.
That’s sad. Wondering where you live?
Save Green Team(Save Green Going Green) says
As you can tell by my name and site-I am all about saving money, while protecting the environment. I am not a tree hgger by any means, but if I can, or show others how to, save money all while protecting our environment or natural resources-Don’t we all win?
I love solar power-I have not completely converted my home because of the overall cost, but I am on my way as the cost drops more each year. Along with the cost drop, the nano-technology now in use for solar panels is proving to be much more effective while increasing life span to 25+ years.
On the east coast, we have great daylight hours throughout the year, so solar is very advantageous over wind power. Most turbines need a sustained wind velocity around 13 MPH to be very cost effective. Maryland is looking at legislation to put a wind farm just off the coast line which has great sustained winds, so we may see some new “Green” Power generated here within the next decade.