When you think about alternative energy, how do you approach the decision? Do you take an Ed Begley, Jr. approach rooted exclusively in the environmental benefits? Or, is your approach more akin to someone like Warren Buffet who weighs the pros and cons from an investor’s point of view?
Until recently, the early adopters of clean energy systems where highly motivated by the positive impact these systems have on the environment. As a result, they were often willing to pay a premium to achieve these benefits. But, as more systems were installed, costs came down to the point where today, a new trend is emerging. Now, new consumers are realizing that these systems can deliver significant economic benefits. Continue reading
One of my friends tells a great story about her 97 year old grandfather balking at the price of a new battery for his car. As the salesman rattled off all of the batteries features and benefits, Grandpa stopped him at the 7 year warranty. “I’m 97! What do I need a 7 year warranty for?”
Wondering whether or not we’ll still be around to reap all the benefits of any particular deal is a common reaction, especially when it comes to clean energy. The average person stays in a home for 7 years. Even though payback periods on clean energy systems are generally 6 to 15 years, system lives of 20 to 40 years leave consumers wondering if they are leaving cash on the table if they move. Continue reading
The personal economics of clean energy are phenomenal. Property owners with installed clean energy systems are generating returns on investment anywhere from 6% to 30% over the 25-30 year life span of the systems. But what about the macro economics? Is there a good story to tell there?
We’re happy to report that there is. Here are a few interesting findings from a recent Brookings study, Sizing the Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment. Continue reading
When you’re not there, your vacation home shouldn’t be on vacation. It should be working for you.
By installing a solar or wind power system, you can turn your vacation home into a profit center. Most vacation homeowners don’t consider installing clean energy systems because they figure their energy consumption isn’t big enough to warrant the expense. They only use the house a few months out of the year; the bills aren’t that high, etc. But this is precisely why vacation homeowners SHOULD install a solar or wind power system. When you’re not there, your home can still be producing energy, which can be sold back to the grid. This low use, high production equation means that vacation homeowners have a way to generate income from their property. They’re still saving money on their energy bills, but they’re also generating revenues the entire time they are not on vacation. One caveat, this option is available to vacation home owners in the 43 states that allow net metering  – i.e., allow you to sell extra electricity produced back to the grid.
Renewable and clean energy systems deliver incredibly attractive returns on investments. Annual returns of solar and wind power systems can range from 5%-30%, depending on your location, property characteristics and availability of incentives and rebates. With these kinds of financial results, imagine the vacation homes you’ll be able to afford!
(States that DO NOT allow net metering: AL, MI, ID, SD, SC, TN, TX)
When you see the weatherman with his umbrella, it’s probably a sign that you should go get yours. That’s why we’re amazed that recent investments in solar technologies by Saudi Arabia haven’t triggered a similar response here in the U.S. Continue reading
If you’re looking for a hot new restaurant to try, where do you look? You could check the yellow pages or maybe look through local newspaper ads, but you probably won’t. A far more likely scenario is that you will ask your friends or neighbors for a recommendation. Why? Because, aside from a sincere desire to see you happy, your friends and neighbors don’t have any vested interest in which restaurant you choose. As people who know you and know what you are looking for, they serve as a credible source of information. They are people who are willing to share their own thoughts, experiences and expertise to help you to make your own decision. Continue reading
How do you decide whether to borrow and buy or lease your clean energy system? Today, leasing is generally only available for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, so if you’re installing a system other than PV, that fact makes the decision for you— borrowing is the only way to go. If you’re considering a PV system, however, your decision to borrow and buy or lease will depend on your unique financial and environmental objectives.
Just to clarify, if you take a loan to buy the system, you’ll own the system, and make monthly loan payments. If you lease, the leasing company will own the PV system, and you’ll pay to use the electricity generated by the system. Continue reading
Most people who are sold on the financial, environmental, and community benefits of clean energy systems, may still find the upfront cost to be a stumbling block. Before you become discouraged, make sure that you’ve done the math. There are many rebates and incentives available, that can significantly reduce the cost of your system, anywhere from 30%-50%. If you still feel that that you can’t afford the upfront investment, you still have options. Rather than buying a clean energy system outright, you may be able to A) borrow the money you need to purchase your system or B) you could lease the system with no upfront cost to you. Both options ensure that you can still save a significant amount on your energy bills.
Understanding these options can go a long way toward getting over this final hurdle. Continue reading
A recent EnergySage survey found that close to 90% of the consumers surveyed had at least some level of interest in a buying a solar panel system (and the same applies to other clean energy systems like solar hot water, solar thermal, geothermal, small wind turbine systems). So, if interest is so high, why aren’t more people investing in a solar energy system?
We asked, and here’s what we found out. Many consumes are reluctant to make the decision to install a solar energy system due to misinformation or incomplete information about the nature of the investment. In other words, consumers are reluctant to invest in solar energy systems simply because they can’t be sure that it’s a sound investment to make. Here are some of the specific concerns that consumers have: Continue reading
We all know that perception is everything. There’s a huge difference in how people view a $10,000 investment versus a $10,000 expense. So could solar power systems be suffering from a perception problem? EnergySage set out to find out just that.
In a survey of 150 consumers interested in solar energy and other clean energy systems (like solar hot water, small wind turbines and geothermal) for their home or businesses, EnergySage.com found that 50% of respondents thought of solar panel systems as an investment, 30% considered it an expense, and 20% did not know enough to tell the difference between the two. Continue reading