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Is Renewable Energy Worth the Upfront Cost?

renewable energyEnergy efficiency, renewable energy and going green, are terms that have become more prevalent in everyone’s vocabulary these days.

It seems that everyone wants to live sustainably. Plus, green methods are perceived to be easier on your budget in the long-run. But are they really worth the upfront cost?

Here are some of the different types of renewable energy, plus their costs and benefits, so you can decide if going green is worth the upfront cost for your budget.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal energy uses geothermal springs or underground wells to heat or cool your home. Geothermal heat pumps fuel source is water. It’s a renewable energy resource with no fuel requirements, but converting to geothermal heating is not something that you can easily DIY. You have to hire a professional contractor to install it, which greatly increases the upfront cost.

An average home of 2500 square feet, with heating and cooling loads of 60,000 BTU, will cost you anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 to convert to geothermal heating. This is more than double the cost to install a traditional heating/cooling system, but it can reduce your utility bills up to 60%, and you may also be able to utilize a federal tax credit to help with the cost installation. The utility savings can be a significant over the course of a year, but it will likely take several years of living in your home in order to pay off the initial investment to convert to this renewal energy source.

Solar Power

Solar power converts rays of the sun into electricity to power your home. This is done through solar panels that are placed around your property to collect the sun.

The 2014 national average to install solar panels, once you subtract out federal and local tax credits and subsidies, is around $17,000. Converting to solar power has really become cheaper than it was in the past, which makes it more attractive to homeowners who wish to use renewable energy to power their homes. The savings from using solar power averages around $69/month. Converting to solar power could increase the value of your house value when it comes time to sell.

Wind Turbine Energy

Wind turbine energy harnesses the power of the wind to create energy. This system is one of the oldest ways of creating renewable energy. Windmills were used in mills to grind grain into flour and to pump water from wells on farms. Modern wind turbines don’t look quite like a traditional windmill but the idea is the same.

The average cost for installing and purchasing a wind turbine is $30,000, but prices can range from $10,000 to $70,000. The cost for a small system is around $4,000-$9,000. Energy cost savings for wind turbine systems will vary depending if you are on or off-grid. If you are on-grid, when the wind doesn’t blow, the public utility company will provide the power for your home. Like many renewable energy sources, there are federal and state tax credits to help with costs of installing the system. It’s been estimated that wind turbine systems can lower your energy bill from 50% to 90%.

These are the three most popular types of renewable energy, although there are others. Renewable energy systems are all expensive to install, but once installed they may significantly lower your energy costs.

If you are going to convert your home to renewable energy, be sure to talk to a professional and look into all the rebates, tax credits, and incentives help with the initial costs. To assist in your decision of wether or not renewable energy is worth the cost, there are also numerous energy calculators that can help you decide.

 

Do you use renewable energy for your home? Have you ever considered any of these sources of renewable energy?

 

Photo courtesy of: meineresterampe

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Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.

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