We are very excited here at Energy Emporium to have won the bid to Solarize Lebanon and Enfield!
This is our home town and we want to work with our neighbors and friends to provide information, installations, and on-going maintenance for those who are ready to take those steps. We have been working with the Solarize Hanover program over the last 6 months and are very excited to add Enfield and Lebanon to this program!
It’s been one of the coldest, snowiest winters that I can recall. Despite all of that downright balmy-for-February weather they prattled on about during the Super Bowl, it’s yet another cold day here in the northeast.
A few weeks ago I wrote about investment planning
in today’s economy and how a renewable energy system might be your best investment. This blog is a follow up to provide the numbers to back up that claim.
Let’s start off with an example of a home-owner and his 400kWh/month electric bill. [To put this in perspective, check out your own most recent electric bill – see Electrical Audit for more info].
Solar Electric System
I started the Energy Emporium just about 3 years ago and I find I have to devote a good number of hours every month to keeping up with the changes in financial incentives. I know it must be difficult for home-owners or people who are not working in this industry. One of the reasons I started this business, was to be able to provide up-to-date information on products, pricing, permitting and incentives for renewable products.
I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised at gross fluctuations in renewable incentives when we look at the harsh political atmosphere and the poor economy today … we can’t decide if we should be boosting the green industry to help create jobs or shutting down as many federal and state programs as possible to reduce the deficit.
Solar PV System
It seems to me that traditional investment planning is getting some serious scrutiny today. Many of us grew up believing that you put money in the bank to make interest, that a home was a really good investment, and that the stock market would always have its ups and downs in the short term, but in the long term it was heading up.
At the same time we are also learning more about what fossil fuels do to our ozone, what a “finite resource” really means, and that we need to be prepared for extreme weather including deadly tornandos, hurricanes, and sunamis.
One solution (and not just mine) — an investment in a renewable energy system for your home. A renewable system can provide some self-sustainability for your family if a local disaster hits; the value of renewable energy will increase over time as governments and economies invest in it; the value of your home will increase if it relies less on fossil fuels.
A solar hot water or electric system today can provide at least a 5%-10% return on your investment. Depending on state rebate program, it can be significantly higher than that.
What is your investment strategy for the new millennium?
In the renewable energy world PACE stands for “Property Assessed Clean Energy”. It is a program designed to make renewable energy projects affordable for any home-owner. The basic idea is that a home-owner can sign up for PACE financing and get a renewable energy system installed for little or no money up front. Their property taxes are increased an amount that is less than what they pay for electricity over the same period of time. It shows up as a new line item in the property tax only for the home-owners who are part of PACE, and that line item never increases — it is a fixed amount. After 20 years (or the required amount of time to pay for it) that line item of the property tax goes away.
From the home-owners perspective, their electric bill goes away and they pay a little more in property tax, but the amount they pay is less/year than what they paid for electricity. If they stay in the house long enough, they own the solar PV system, and the renewable energy line item on their property tax goes away. It is a savings for the home-owner from the very first year.
“Your Voice” is a relatively new publication that has been delivered to mailboxes in many towns in and around the Upper Valley (NH and VT). I was excited to hear that they were publishing an “Off the Grid” section every other week starting in January (for 6 weeks to start). I asked if I could provide a ‘blog’ type editorial entry for this section and they thought that would be a great idea.
Below are the entries that have been published so far… if you get this publication in your mailbox, look for “Off the Grid”.
Solar PV Modules
What’s stopping YOU from taking the next step toward renewable energy sources and reducing your own dependence on fossil fuels with their variable (and unpredictable) costs?
Here are some reasons why you might have already started your plans towards fuel savings and a greener future:
- Tax credit of 30% of the total cost of installing a renewable energy source on your home (solar hot water, solar electric, wind or water turbine, geo-thermal). This is a tax credit… so anyone who pays taxes to the government is eligible to get this credit back.
This blog entry is a reminder of the incentives and rebates brought to us by our federal, state, and local stimulus package – our tax dollars hard at work. Click on the links for details and fine print.
Federal, residential: All solar hot water, solar electric, wind turbines, and geo-thermal systems qualify for the federal tax credit of 30%. This is a tax credit — direct deduction of the taxes you owe. No maximum. Details can be found here: Federal Incentives.
Today, I was in Portland, Maine in a training class for Southwest wind turbines
– installation and sales. It was fun and interesting and gave me some good resources and information to help people who have enough wind to generate electricity.
We completed the construction of a 45′ tower, wired and attached the turbine, then raised the tower and leveled it. Pictures included.