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  1. Transitioning your home's electrical system to include solar power can provide a huge number of financial and environmental benefits. Installing a solar power generating system on your roof or in your yard has the potential to greatly reduce your electricity bill while also reducing your carbon footprint and helping to protect the planet. In this way, going green with solar power is truly a great thing to do. Unfortunately, making the transition isn't always as simple or straightforward as it seems. Despite the price of solar systems and installation continuing to drop to new record lows, the fact is that solar still remains prohibitively expensive for many homeowners. As well, the overall success of your solar system depends in large part on how and where it's installed and the quality of your equipment. For these reasons, it is essential that you pay attention to the following tips in order to help you overcome any potential obstacles and hopefully simplify your transition to solar. Always Have a Solar Feasibility Study Performed Not all homes are suitable for solar power and even if your home is suitable, you'll still need to know where the best spot for the panels is, how many solar panels you'll need and how much energy you can expect the system to produce. A solar feasibility study helps you answer all of these questions in order to ensure that you get the best possible system for your home and your energy needs. Most reputable solar installation companies will offer this type of study for free. In this way, you'll not only be able to ensure that you get the best possible system, but you'll also be able to compare the prices, products, and services offered by each company to find the best possible deal. Purchase Everything Up-Front When deciding to go solar, you will typically have the option to purchase all of your own equipment up front, lease the equipment from a solar company or sign a Power Purchasing Agreement with your power company, in which case they supply and own all of the equipment. Although purchasing your own equipment requires a much larger initial investment, it is well worth it since your investment will provide tangible goods. Otherwise, you'll end up paying for something that someone else still technically owns. You will generally be able to qualify for a variety of local, state and federal rebates and tax incentives to help offset the initial costs. However, if you're still unable to afford what it costs, it's well worth it to try to get a loan to cover your solar transition in order to help you meet your energy goals. If timing is the only thing holding you back, searching regionally for something like “Texas payday loan” can help you find short term lenders you can use, so long as you’re prepared to pay them back ASAP. The energy saving benefits of your solar system should help to offset any interest payments you make on the loan. Buying your solar equipment out right also gives you the ability to sell your solar panels or other equipment should you ever decide to upgrade, and the solar system obviously boosts your home's total value. All of this makes a loan more than worth it in the end. Make Any Necessary Repairs or Upgrades Ahead of Time In addition to the solar feasibility study, you'll want to make sure to have your roof inspected to ensure it can fully support the solar panels. If the inspection discovers any leaks, structural damage or other issues, it is essential that you have them fixed prior to the solar installation. Similarly, if your roof is only a year or two away from needing to be replaced, you should definitely consider having it done now. Otherwise, you risk having to have the solar system removed to fix the damage and then starting all over. Forget about the DIY Route Although you can read numerous articles online about DIY solar, the truth is that installing a solar system is something that's best left to the professionals. The complicated electrical work required is not only incredibly dangerous for anyone other than a certified electrician, but any wiring issues also have the potential to destroy your solar system or potentially even burn down your home. At the very least, wiring issues can harm the efficiency of your solar panels. The actual installation of the solar panels should also be left to a trained professional since the exact position, angle and orientation will directly influence how much energy they can create. Therefore, if you want your solar system to be safe and work properly, it is imperative that you have it professionally installed. Solar power is now more accessible than ever, and there truly has never been a better time to make the transition to clean, green, renewable solar energy. However, a poorly designed or improperly installed solar system will still be a huge waste of money. In this sense, it is essential that you get the expert advice and financial assistance you need to ensure your transition to solar is a success.
  2. Last week a global conference on responsible investment was held in Singapore, China. One could see the leadership staring at us via a video-link to that conference. Chief Economist at the People’s Bank of China, Dr. Ma Jun, stated that China is currently moving to the mandatory report of environmental information by the companies. Dr. Ma Jun mentioned that all water, climate, and environmental issues are closely connected with asset allocation risks. This conference, which was held by Principles for Responsible Investment, was listened and watched by over 600 delegates. During the video conference, Dr. Ma Jun talked about how China was waiting for the release of green finance and used government stimulus in order to attract private capital. Carbon Trading Scheme People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is the financial regulator and the central bank in China. Dr. Ma has got the nickname “Mr. Green Finance” because he is usually driving this agenda. He used to be an economist at Deutsche Bank and joined PBOC only two years ago. Next year China is planning to launch a national carbon trading scheme, which will become the largest trading scheme in the world. The economists state that China has passed ahead and left the West behind. China is now investing more in clean technology than the U.K., U.S., and France altogether. At the same time, the U.S. has even failed to launch a national carbon trading market. The day before this conference started, China Central Depository and Clearing Co announced itself a partner of Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), which is an international, non-for-profit organization. Together they aimed at launching the first Climate-Aligned bond index. Obey or Explain The recent announcement of China to start the move towards mandatory disclosure of environmental risk has built a lot of momentum in this space. Some of the companies have suggested this is going to be a quiet revolution. It all started in 2014 when Mr. Robins became the head of Climate Change Center and mentioned a joint program on green finance between G20 and investors as his “dream headline” for the next year. A lot of stock exchange CEOs joined at the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative and formally added to the numbers on board. It demanded stable development reporting on an “obey or explain” basis. During the last year, more than 20 stock exchanges decided to provide ESG reporting guidance. Generation S The credit rating agencies together with senior executives from S&P Global Ratings and Malaysia’s RAM Ratings were also present, talking about social and environmental issues and credit ratings. There were also some investment companies in Singapore, - Arabesque was one of them. Small business owners can borrow through loan matching service hile big corporations need to find other ways and attract big investors. George Kell, who is a vice chairman of this investment firm, spoke about the significance to listen to the needs and necessities of the millennials. He even used a special name for them – Generation S – for sustainability. Does everybody support the movement for change? The managing director of PRI told the delegates that all the work concerning responsible investment is closely connected with rebuilding trust in the whole financial system. This task is rather challenging, and it requires leadership across geographical boundaries. However, while this movement for change was being held in China, there was something missing. Some economists and partners at the conference suggested it was the U.S. David Blood, managing partner in an investment company mentioned that most American people were missing because in the U.S. sustainability is a political agenda.
  3. Real estate investment can cost a modest fortune for many people, and because of this, you understandably want to save money in every way possible. The U.S. government has created numerous tax breaks and other financial benefits for those who own green homes or who make green improvements to their homes within a specified tax year. Such benefits can help you to save a sizable chunk of change within the next year. If you are looking for ways to save on your home ownership expenses, consider these points. Green Energy Generation There are several ways to produce green energy in your own home. This ranges from solar and wind energy to the use of geothermal pumps and more. Many home energy production methods produce enough energy to entirely offset the home's energy needs on a regular basis. Generally, the IRS allows you to deduct at least a portion of the purchase of the equipment and the installation cost for many types of green energy systems. This can drastically offset the cost to get the system up and running, and you can then enjoy ongoing energy savings throughout your time in the house. HVAC Systems, Boilers and Furnaces Climate control is a serious matter for homeowners, and you understandably need to invest in new, energy-efficient equipment to keep your home’s indoor climate as comfortable as possible regardless of the weather conditions outside. If you invest in a new HVAC system, boiler or furnace that is sufficiently energy efficient to meet IRS standards, you may qualify for a deduction or tax credit. Typically, the credit or deduction applies to specific models and is based on the equipment and installation costs. Some equipment may also qualify for local grants for additional savings. Sealing the Home Everything from new insulation to new doors and windows are responsible for sealing the home. Such features can prevent the transfer of heat between the indoor and outdoor environments, and this can drastically reduce energy consumption related to climate control activities. Replacing insulation, doors, and windows with newer, energy-efficient models may qualify the home for a tax deduction or tax credit. The cost of insulation and materials may both be used to determine the amount of the credit or deduction. Living green is a great way to decrease your impact on the environment and to save money on energy costs in the process. Through these green home improvements, you may also be able to enjoy tax credits and deductions for additional savings. If you’re unsure what benefits you can get, realtors like those at Mark Fox Company can help you find out.