Solar: Tax credit or clean energy startup opportunity

SolarThe solar industry is in for a revamp when the industry faces a fiscal cliff at the end of 2016 when the federal tax credit expires. While three years seems like a long time it is the perfect time to get a large scale solar project planned and implemented.

Established by the ”Energy Policy Act of 2005”, the federal tax credit for residential energy property initially applied to solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems and fuel cells. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, extended the tax credit to small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pumps, effective January 1, 2008. The credit was further enhanced in February 2009 by “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” removing the maximum credit amount for all eligible technologies (except fuel cells) placed in service after 2008.

A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Expect to see solar energy projects planning to take to off in 2013 to not miss out on the tax benefits.

Also, Mosaic a start-up out of California will allow investors all over the country to fund clean-energy projects and earn interest on the energy sold to customers. Sounds like a great investment opportunity.

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Nest – Learning Thermostat

programmable thermostat

With the cold weather arriving in the north east it is time to talk about energy consumption. More specifically programmable thermostats, they are a great way to go green by saving natural resources and by saving extra money. There are lots of varieties of thermostats out there but the one that caught my eye was the Nest programmable thermostat. No one ever remembers to set up the programming for the thermostat and this is what makes the product stand out. The Nest thermostat will save you time and money by learning your household patterns and programming itself. A correctly programmed thermostat will save you about 20% per year and your heating and cooling bill.

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Fueling America’s Progress

Renewable fuel is making a critical difference for our economy, for our environment and for all Americans. In uncertain times, renewable fuel is a strong and reliable catalyst for growth, creating jobs while promoting a cleaner environment. Keep the progress going – keep America’s Renewable Fuel Standard in place.

The Renewable Fuel Advantage

America’s Renewable Fuel Standard has spurred major investment in new technology for advanced and conventional renewable fuel, making the U.S. the world’s leader in renewable fuel innovation. The Renewable Fuel Standard works – promoting growth while providing flexibility for producers to deal with challenges such as the recent drought.

The proof that the RFS is working is clear. Ethanol production has been reduced since the drought began, because refiners can apply some past production to future requirements. An active credit trading program and surplus ethanol currently in the market are also limiting demand for corn.

The EPA recently decided to uphold and protect the RFS, after some called for a “waiver” following this summer’s drought. We applaud the EPA’s decision to support the renewable fuel industry and support America’s economy – especially rural communities and the entire U.S. renewable fuel industry – just when American families and business most need the income and growth provided by the renewable fuel sector.

Reposted from: http://www.fuelsamerica.org/pages/renewable-fuel

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Refinancing

Refinancing, Hassle or is it worth it? I spent the last 6 months debating whether or not to refinance our house. We had 2 loans with the second being used to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) and at the time we bought our house the lending agent we were using said we should go with two loans. What we did not know and ended up finding out at the time of closing was that after 15 years the second loan would balloon and we would owe the remaining balance at that time. We ended up going with it and fortunately for us interest rates have dropped and it made sense to refinance and consolidate the two loans so we will not have to worry about that large lump sum anymore. During the hours spent researching whether or not to refinance I realized a few things that anyone should consider when refinancing and I have listed them below.

Timing

Not only timing of the market and getting the best interest rate and lowering your payment, but you also need to consider “is this the right time for me and my family.” One of the reasons I did not refinance a year ago was because we were not sure if we were going to stay in our house much longer. We were looking at moving into a larger home and it did not make sense at the time to put down the closing costs when we not going to break-even (Break-even explained later) on the refinance. There can be many other reasons why it is not a good time to refinance, job stability, economy, etc…, so figure out when is the best time for you.

15 year vs 30 year

We bought our first home right after my wife and I had graduated from college. We both had good jobs with a lot of earning potential. I am more of the type to pay off debt as quickly as possible and my wife is very risk averse and would rather take the lower payment and pay additional money on the principal if we have the cash. These are both valid points and we decided to take the lower payment (30 year) rather than taking the shorter term loan (15 year). There were two reasons for this, the first was because we were about to have our first child and it was uncertain if my wife was going to go back to work full time. The other reason was that with the low interest rates on loans, we were able to get a 30 year fixed rate loan at 3.5% we can take the additional money we will be saving each month and invest it at a higher rate.

Break-even Point

Break-even is defined as the point of balance between making either a profit or a loss. There are plenty of break-even calculators out there but we ended up using was from Zillow. It showed us that if we were to refinance we would recover our costs from closing in 2 years and 10 months all while lowering our payment $200 a month. It was an easy decision to make once we decided to stay in our house for another 5 years.

 

When considering refinancing determine if it makes sense for your situation. Sometimes it does and sometimes it does not make sense to refinance, but consider the whole picture before making any decisions.

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Introduction to Green Investing

Many of us want to make money and do the right thing while making it. I started this website with the hope that it will provide guidance for investors to make money while investing their money responsibly. I remember reading a book by Warren Buffett back in college about investing and to me it seemed that the whole premise behind Warren’s investing tips were to invest in renewable services. Services that are going to be around year after year and be more in demand as the years go on; Services such as waste management and utility companies. If we think about renewable energy and the opportunities it will provide now and in the future they will always be here.

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