Energy prices only go up. They never, ever go down. However, you don’t have to rely solely on the power grid to meet your home’s energy needs. There are a number of green energy technologies that have, in recent years, become economically viable alternatives to grid power. One of the best aspects of producing electricity yourself is that those prices will never rise. You pay once to retrofit your home, and then you have that equipment forever. Today, individuals and organizations are taking advantage of alternative energy (solar power, wind power, etc.) more than ever before – and reaping numerous benefits.
The government offers several federal tax credits for homeowners who install green energy appliances or equipment in their homes. These subsidies cover several types of upgrades: Energy Star branded appliances which reduce electricity consumption, solar panels and other electricity generating equipment, and other upgrades like high quality insulation and new windows which limit heating and cooling requirements.
New appliances aren’t cheap, but you can save hundreds through local and federal rebates. A list of qualifying programs can be found on the Energy Star website at www.energystar.gov. New appliances also tend to be far more energy efficient because they’re created with better insulation and materials.
Most equipment also tends to gradually break down over time, like a new car outperforming an older one simply because it’s new. For example, a new fridge costs about $40 a year to operate. An older fridge can cost two or three times that depending on its age. Leaks and cracks can contribute to higher energy bills.
Insulation and windows will cost several thousand dollars for the whole house, but you can see immediate energy savings, especially during summer and winter.
The most expensive green energy option, at least initially, is to install solar panels for your house. Typical kits range from $15,000 to $30,000 and may still be unable to generate enough electricity to meet all your demands. A 5 kW system can be bought for around $25,000.
Installation will be several thousand more, but federal tax credits will cover up to $7,500 of that price. Also, check with your local power company. They may match the government’s offer with another rebate up to $7,500, bringing your total down to the $10,000-$15,000 range. If you save just $150 per month on average, solar power will easily pay for itself within 10 years, making it the smartest green energy investment in the long run.