Alternative energy thought of the day

energy

Deep thought of the day: Say you were feeling green. Or lets say you’re just stuck with an unwieldy hydro bill every year and having exhausted any easy options for saving energy, you’re looking for other ways to offset what you draw from the grid. Why go to the trouble of putting solar panels on your roof if you were able to invest a comparable amount in some distant large-scale (and lets assume more efficient) alternative energy project, and use those dividends to subsidize your own electricity bill?

Who wants to start a fundable or CommunityLend social lending platform for such projects? Does that exist? or what would be the practical, regulatory or taxation considerations required to make that make sense?

Some jurisdictions (like Ontario) have promised some massive long term subsidies on feed-in rates for alternative energy. While there are a lot of projects underway, my friends in the industry tell me that, unlike in Europe, it is still challenging to find institutional financing in North America despite the revenue-side guarantees. A lot of home or condo owners might well enjoy both the income and warm&fuzzies of “owning” their own personal solar/wind/etc. project but don’t have the ability, roofspace, or ability to do it on their own.

img source: weekly vector/Shepard Fairey

  • http://hogtownconsulting.com/ Patrick Dinnen

    Makes sense to me. I don’t know enough about finance to really assess the idea, but I like it. Couple of thoughts though:

    You might install local solar rather than investing in a distant project because the former would presumably increase the value of your home. Plus off-gridness, that distant energy project isn’t going to keep your lights on in a power cut.

    Also, seems like the feeling green person and the saving on energy bill person might look at the problem differently. e.g. If you care about the environmental impact of your home’s energy use, rather just what the energy costs, then doing some additional, not so low hanging, energy-efficiency improvements might make sense. Because making energy-efficiency improvements cuts the environmental impacts of the home for its lifetime, not just the period you own it. Which you might care about from a green point of view, but not so much from a pure financial PoV.

  • http://hogtownconsulting.com Patrick Dinnen

    Makes sense to me. I don’t know enough about finance to really assess the idea, but I like it. Couple of thoughts though:

    You might install local solar rather than investing in a distant project because the former would presumably increase the value of your home. Plus off-gridness, that distant energy project isn’t going to keep your lights on in a power cut.

    Also, seems like the feeling green person and the saving on energy bill person might look at the problem differently. e.g. If you care about the environmental impact of your home’s energy use, rather just what the energy costs, then doing some additional, not so low hanging, energy-efficiency improvements might make sense. Because making energy-efficiency improvements cuts the environmental impacts of the home for its lifetime, not just the period you own it. Which you might care about from a green point of view, but not so much from a pure financial PoV.

  • Will

    It’s best to take advantage of the home owners’ tax credit (before it expires). I used it to justify installing about 5K in efficient window upgrades to my craftsman style 975 sq ft one-level. Of that investment, I should get the full (1200 or 1400?) tax credit.

    The fact that I have a fireplace and am not connected to the gas meter has had me thinking that I should look into other energy-efficiency upgrades to optimize electrical usage and possibly supplement heat with a pellet-type fireplace insert. If such a tax rebate or incentive program were in place for several years, or there were a P 2 P fund set up whereby I could borrow to complete the install and pay back over time using the energy/electrical savings, I’d definitely be on-board.

    Who knows, If I saved enough over time, I could possibly add an auto-switching battery inverter with wind or solar to supplement or replace my electrical usage altogether.

    Low hanging fruit means different things to many people. In my case it’s from a homeowners’ point of view who doesn’t want any additional maintenance or ongoing capital outlay while still optimizing any efficiency gains. IE do the simple stuff first, less environmental impact is an added bonus.

  • http://N/A Will

    It’s best to take advantage of the home owners’ tax credit (before it expires). I used it to justify installing about 5K in efficient window upgrades to my craftsman style 975 sq ft one-level. Of that investment, I should get the full (1200 or 1400?) tax credit.

    The fact that I have a fireplace and am not connected to the gas meter has had me thinking that I should look into other energy-efficiency upgrades to optimize electrical usage and possibly supplement heat with a pellet-type fireplace insert. If such a tax rebate or incentive program were in place for several years, or there were a P 2 P fund set up whereby I could borrow to complete the install and pay back over time using the energy/electrical savings, I’d definitely be on-board.

    Who knows, If I saved enough over time, I could possibly add an auto-switching battery inverter with wind or solar to supplement or replace my electrical usage altogether.

    Low hanging fruit means different things to many people. In my case it’s from a homeowners’ point of view who doesn’t want any additional maintenance or ongoing capital outlay while still optimizing any efficiency gains. IE do the simple stuff first, less environmental impact is an added bonus.

  • http://twitter.com/androidsNsheep Pearl

    I wanted to be part of the Windshare (http://www.windshare.ca) co-op when it launched many years ago but now that I’m reminded of it, I wonder what held it up from being popular.

  • http://twitter.com/androidsNsheep Pearl

    I wanted to be part of the Windshare (http://www.windshare.ca) co-op when it launched many years ago but now that I'm reminded of it, I wonder what held it up from being popular.