Return on Investment on Renewable Energy

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For the average person in North America, utilities bills are an ever increasing expense. Homeowners who decide to use renewable energy in the form of geothermal, wind, or solar power are seeking a way to defray the cost of utility bills. As the average cost of solar power set up or kits decrease and the popularity increases, the question becomes what is the long-term return on investment.
For a better understanding of return of investment on renewable energy, in this case, solar power, consideration must be given to the implementation of the system. While prices vary on the size of the system, the location of the installation, and the company installing it, in North Carolina the solar systems cost in general from $11,000 to $35,000.
Currently in North Carolina, there is a state renewable energy tax credit of 35% with an additional 30% credit from the government. (Database of State Incentives For Renewals and Efficiency, n.d.) This means the average $11,000 - $35,000 installation cost is reduced to $5,200 to $18,000, a much economically feasible cost.
With an average utility bill for those living in North Carolina it is approximately $1,100 to $1,400 per consumer year (Public Staff Commerce for NC, n.d.), it would take approximately 5 -7 years for a homeowner to recoup the cost of installation. That is assuming that during those years there are no rate increases and the average usage remains steady. After which, the cost of electricity is ‘free’ to the homeowner.
In some situations, solar panels and the homeowner’s own conservation not only covers usage, but also supplies extra energy. In which case, the homeowner may actually make money by providing utility companies with electricity.
For those North Carolina residents who are...

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... from the state, the federal government, and the utility companies themselves, whatever initial outlay of cash will be recuperated in a short amount of time. Based on my experience of living in Southern California, which, due to uncontrollable growth strained the local utility companies which caused them to allow their customers to experience brown outs and black outs. A brown out is when the utility company cuts electricity in a certain area for an amount of time, in order to reduce the strain on the power grid. A black out is caused by an unintentional loss of power or electricity in the system. Rolling brown outs are a frequent occurrence in the heat of summer, leaving many, included high-risk elderly and children without electricity. Solar panels mean never being at the mercy of the utility company.

Works Cited

Solar Energy Guide, Alternative Energy Guide

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