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Renewable Energy Increases Home Values features a story on the value that renewable energy can add to a home. Amy Levin, a realtor who completed a LEED platinum registered gut rehab in Washington, DC, had her home appraised at 10% higher value than comparable properties. Interested buyers made offers that exceeded her green investment costs, even though the house wasn’t listed. People wanted to rent her house, even though she built it for her own residence.

The solar panels on the roof heat the water (and they seem positioned to shade the air conditioner, another energy-saver). An article in summarizes “sunshine economics”:

“A few big variables dictate whether a home PV system makes economic sense. But in rough terms, here’s how the numbers break down in states with the best incentives: The average solar-power system is 4 kilowatts. (Think of kilowatts as the size of the system. The power it generates depends on size, efficiency and sunlight.) Figure the price, including installation, is $10,000 per kilowatt, so the total comes to $40,000. Through various rebates, credits and tax breaks, some states pay half that cost. The federal government will also chip in 30% of the cost, up to $2,000. Taken together, those subsidies drop the total to $18,000. Manufacturers say that solar panels will last 25 to 30 years, and they guarantee them for 20 years. Assuming a 20-year life span, that averages out to a cost of $75 per month.” —Solar Finally Pays Off, Bob Frick, Sr. Editor, Kiplinger online

Even better: The economics above are for Solar PV, which generates electricity; the economics for solar thermal, which heats water and air, are even more favorable in even more states. Can we now stop grumbling about “payback” and move on to building the solar industry?

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Written By

Carol Gulyas is a leader in the renewable energy community in Illinois, where she serves as VP of the Board of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. Recently she co-founded EcoAchievers -- a provider of online education for the renewable energy and sustainable living community. She spent 18 years in the direct marketing industry in New York and Chicago, and is currently a teaching librarian at Columbia College Chicago. Carol grew up in a small town in central Indiana, then lived in the Pacific Northwest, Lima, Peru, and New York City. She is inspired by reducing energy consumption through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green building technology.


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