For the past couple years, the U.S government has offered federal grants amounting to 30% of the total installation value of a new solar system*, wind generator* or other renewable energy system. But is all that about to end?
Probably. The Federal Grant for Renewable Energy is not set to be renewed at the end of this year. Quietly and discreetly, no one has mentioned it. It appears that if you have not started your installation, then tough luck to you.
For most of us that leaves us with only two options: either get moving or miss out… your home renewable energy system has to be “started” by the end of this year in order to qualify for the grant.
If you want to get started you can take a look at our information on solar grants for your home to begin the application process.
But… is it worth borrowing money to qualify for these solar grants?
Recently we have been asked if it is worthwhile to actually borrow money to install a renewable energy system, just to take advantage of the 30% grants. Jane and I have always been proponents of debt free living and feel that it is very important to extend that thinking into everything we do.
Installing solar panels or a wind generator on your property is about independence: about being free of the power company (at least for off-grid installations). Why would you want to enslave yourself to the bank with another mortgage, or second mortgage to save money in other parts of your life?
There have been times when we have been tempted to borrow to make our plans move ahead a little faster… so tempted at times. And we have succumbed to those temptations on two occasions. Each time we wished we had waited…
Please feel free to disregard this, though: it is up to you and your family. But from personal experience (16 years worth), we have seen various installations built on borrowed money. In over 90% of those cases, the family was not better off; the money simply went to a different source. The savings slipped right through their fingers, leaving a bad taste in their mouth. Or worse, creating a feeling that renewable energy was not the answer to their energy needs, when really it was the decision-making process.
Start with good decisions for your family. Discuss them in detail. You have time. Why pay for mistakes that could have been corrected before they were implemented.
If it is your time to have renewable energy, AND your family is fortunate enough to be able to do this without borrowing money, then we say go for it.
If not, discuss your options carefully. After all, missing out on a 30% grant is not the end of the world, but borrowing money that perhaps in a year you can’t pay back because of a change in your life could hurt a lot.
Jane and I will help you in any way we can with your decision, and when you are ready we will even help you with free system design help.