The U.S. currently functions off of an electric power grid. Centralized power plants, where most Americans receive their electricity from, use a variety of natural resources to operate. These range from coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy to renewable resources such as water, wind, and solar energy. However, renewable resources make up only 15 percent of all net electricity generation.
Environmental Impacts of the Electricity System:
- Emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.
- Use of water resources to produce steam, provide cooling, and serve other functions.
- Discharges of pollution into water bodies, including thermal pollution (water that is hotter than the original temperature of the water body).
- Generation of solid waste, including hazardous waste.
- Land use for fuel production, power generation, and transmission and distribution lines.
- Health effects of humans, plants, animals, and ecosystems that result from the air, water, waste, and land impacts above.
Alternative Energy Options:
With impacts of global warming on the horizon, and the promise of a lower energy bill for consumers, alternative energy sources are becoming much more attractive to homeowners. Solar power is currently the most popular source of alternative electricity, but other residential energy source options have emerged recently.
Solar Shingles– Say goodbye to the eyesore formerly known as solar panels. Photovoltaic roof tiles, or “solar shingles,” have become a great option for homeowners looking to lower their electric bills without sacrificing the aesthetic value of their homes. Solar shingles cost roughly a third more than the average solar panel installation, but there are tax incentives to help offset the price.
A similar, less expensive option are solar skylights. These are transparent solar panels that have the appearance of traditional skylights but generate some energy.
Residential Wind Power– Massive wind turbines have been taking the cake for some time, but now it’s possible to use wind energy on a smaller scale to power residences. Small wind energy is renewable, clean, and cost-effective. Depending on location and the type of home wind system installed, a return on investment can take anywhere from six to 30 years. After that, the electricity the turbine produces will be virtually free.
Additionally, the investment can increase home value, and may be eligible for some tax incentives.
Hybrid– Hybrid systems feature both wind turbines and solar panels to double up on generative power. These systems are the most efficient and reliable, as wind and solar energy tend to be most available at various times.
Microhydropower– A microhydropower system requires a waterwheel, turbine, or pump to convert the power of water into electricity. The moving water rotates the wheel, and this motion powers the alternator or generator to create electricity. The system should be able to power a typical large house.
Geothermal– Geothermal energy is derived from the heat below the earth’s surface. This clean energy source supplies renewable power around the clock and emits little to no greenhouse gases – all while requiring a small environmental footprint to develop.
Regardless of which option you choose, an important question to ask is how the financing of this alternative power source will impact the title to the home. For example, solar/alternative energy providers often secure their interest in the property with either a lien or a UCC filing against the subject property. Oftentimes, this can impact the homeowners ability to refinance their property later.
If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint and want to move to or within California, please reach out to Bluefire Mortgage Group at (760) 930-0569 with any questions you may have about solar financing and what you need to know about the impact it may have on the mortgage financing process.