Neighbors often try to “one-up” each other, whether with fancy landscaping, new paint, or holiday light displays. But what if you could encourage a positive change for the block – or even the planet – with renewable energy?
Why not lead the way with home solar in your neighborhood?
I’ve seen this social experiment happen right across the street. One homeowner installs solar panels and, before long, others are doing the same thing!
These days, solar energy is about half as expensive as a few years ago, and governments are offering generous tax credits and incentives to encourage you to go solar. There are financing options, including group purchasing discounts, and property assessed clean energy loans (the government loans you money for solar panels and you pay them off over years through your property tax bill). In fact, if you don’t want to buy a rooftop solar energy system, you can lease one!
Your new solar panels will be the first sign to the neighborhood that you are going green. So now, talk up how much money you’re saving on monthly utility bills and even how your meter is turning backwards when you feed excess generated electricity back into the grid (its called net metering).
Before long, people on your street will be asking you how they too, can install solar panels!
When it comes to solar in your neighborhood, perhaps the biggest obstacle besides educating your neighbors and learning about financing options is review by a homeowner’s association (also known as HOAs). Like quasi-governmental entities, HOAs often have the power to deny residential additions or improvements if they do not approve of their appearance. The purported reason is to preserve home values in the neighborhood.
If you have an aggressive HOA that is not inclined to approve solar panels, you’ll need to teach the members about how adding solar to your home will improve its value! In fact, for every $1 you save on annual electricity bills, you get $20 in your home equity “bank.” Save $500 a year and that’s a $10,000 boost in value!
With the drop in home values from the recession over the past few years, nothing like solar to add a bright spot to your economic outlook. And, if you lead the way with home solar in your neighborhood, the rising tide will lift all houses on the block….