We here at the International Wind Energy Academy get asked several times when we are out in the community doing presentations and meeting with landowners and the public, what is your return on investment when buying renewable energy for your home?
While we can’t blame people for asking, have you ever considered the return on investment for your car also known as a bottomless money pit that continues to depreciate? How about that $500 Louis Vuitton purse or that laptop that you purchased yesterday that is now outdated?
When regarding the installation of small scale renewable energy like solar and wind, the term “quality of life” comes to mind. The typical cost to install a wind or solar system is in the range of $15,000 to $20,000. For that kind of coin, it typically takes about 35 year payback with the amount of energy you can bring into your home. While some may be extremely discouraged by this fact, consider the unique selling feature you have in owning renewable energy and passing that onto the next homeowner if you ever decide to sell your home. In a flat real estate market, it’s one incredible advantage over other homes on the market.
There are also options like Enmax’s Generate Choice program that provide a great incentive for homeowners to adopt renewable energy with a $1,500, $2,500 or $3,500 down payment plus a $50 rental fee every month. By the end of 15 years, you own the system. With this installation, there is the opportunity to actually get credit on the amount of energy you are consuming vs. producing.
If you are purchasing a new home, you can roll the cost of renewable energy components right into your mortgage. With that, the amount you notice this minimal extra cost every month, it becomes an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario.
So when considering why some people adopt renewable energy, these are the typical answers we hear: we are doing it for our children, for the environment , and because I’d rather offset the increasing harvesting of coal, oil and natural gas and delay the onset of peak oil. Other answers include: it’s the right thing to do and why wouldn’t I do something like this?
There are an incredible amount of considerations to evaluate before putting renewable energy on your home but one of the most important things you can do first is to reduce the amount of energy you consume, also known as energy efficiency.
If you can increase the insulation factor of your home and improve the air tightness of the structure, this is one of the most effective ways you can start saving considerable dollars.
Also consider how many high tech gadgets you have, and how often they are plugged into the wall or how often you are using the dryer when a clothes line will knock your consumption down considerably. Power bars and unplugging your TV/stereo and other power draining items can also contribute to a reduced bill.
For more information on Energy efficiency workshops and sessions on Green living, please contact the International Wind Energy Academy at (403)320-3202 ext. 5489 or by checking out www.iwea.ca or www.facebook.com/lcitt