With the evidence for Climate Change being so obvious, overwhelming and terrifying, it is no surprise that some experts think that as many as 12% of US homes will be off the grid in the next 10 years. Whilst all sensible and intelligent citizens know that it is our duty to look after the environment, does it make economic sense to do so in the suburbs? Should we be investing in solar panels and batteries? Can we help ourselves by helping the planet?
Does Solar Power Cost The Earth?
Solar power is an enormous investment for an average person. Until such time as the economics of scale kick in, the cost of fitting panels on our homes in the suburbs is still a dramatic one. It can cost around $20,000 to install a good quality solar system, but how long will it take to pay that back? This question is double-edged, in part, the answer depends upon the loan agreement you’ve got, but before deciding upon that you need to know what the savings may be. On average, a good solar system will take you 8 years to reach its break-even point. After this it will be saving you money every month. So if you can get the finance for an 8-year loan you can choose to pay that back for 8 years rather than paying for your electricity. Or you could just keep paying the electric company indefinitely… Whilst the up front cost is high this is an investment that will pay off relatively quickly.
Is Wind Power Just Hot Air?
Household turbines have a number of issues holding them back not least of which is the fact that they cannot reliably produce the level of power that is seen with a wind farm. A high quality rooftop turbine in the 1KW range will set you back around $8,800. Compared to the massive outlay for the solar panels this might seem like a sensible option. Unfortunately, the payback time for the turbineis an enormous 12 years. It should be noted, however, that this is a field where technological advances happen very quickly. The eco-aware American is advised to keep an eye on developments in wind to see if this can become a viable investment.
Keep A Tight Lid On It
An alternative approach to saving the planet whilst saving yourself money is insulation. Loft insulation costs around $0.18 per square foot to install but the payback time for this work is an absolute minimal 5.6 years. With such a low upfront cost (depending on the size of your loft), this is a quick and easy option everyone should consider immediately. Loft insulation isn’t the only quick and cheap option, there are plenty to choose from. Adding weather-strips to windows will cost you a tiny $3 and will have paid this back in a year. Caulking the joint between the floor and walls will set you back around $100 at most but this will have been saved in around a year.
Do It All And Save The Most
No one single piece of advice lives in isolation. If you can afford to do it all at once the savings to yourself will magnify. A more efficient home will pay back the cost of investments such as solar panels in much less time. Taking steps such as ensuring all windows are properly closed and that thermostats heat your home at the right time can all contribute to help you help both the environment and yourself.