10 reasons why you should choose solar energy

Anyone who is concerned about the worsening condition of our environment would be convinced by only one argument: using solar energy helps the environment. But is this the only benefit? Of course not, many of us realize how much money you can save by having solar panels installed on your house. Both of these points are already enough to prove that choosing solar energy is worthwhile. However, we have decided to show that it makes much more benefits than we think.

Here is the list presenting:

10 advantages of using solar energy:

  1. It is environmentally friendly. As it has been mentioned, when you choose solar energy you protect the environment – thus, you protect your own health. The usage of solar panels
    mounted on buildings relevantly reduces the carbon emission.
  2. Solar energy users save money. It is financially beneficial to use solar panels to provide electricity for your house – you either do not pay any bills or reduce them significantly. It is a very good option for both private house owners and businesses.
  3. It is a very good investment. The initial expense will bring great return in a few years (on average it takes 7-8 years). It is a good investment alternative for stocks and bonds.
  4. Your house will be valued higher by appraisers. Houses with solar panels installed constitute a much more attractive offer for potential buyers. The demand for houses equipped with solar panels is growing along with the increasing popularity of solar energy and the awareness of its merits.
  5. You can avoid unexpected rises of the energy prices. Your financial situation will become more stable and your expense planning will be much easier. The fact that you do not need to be dependent on the energy providers is very comforting.
  6. Solar energy is available for everyone. This fact creates an opportunity for your country to become independent from other countries which distribute the traditional sources of energy.
  7. The growing solar industry creates well-paid jobs – in 2015 these constituted 1.2 percent of all U.S. jobs. This contributes to the common welfare and helps the economy both local and countrywide.
  8. Consumers choose “green” businesses. It is becoming more and more important for clients whether your business cares about sustainability and social responsibility.
  9. Employees appreciate the employers who feel responsible for the community and environment. Thus, the engagement and commitment of workers can be higher, which will result in better efficiency and results.
  10. Your company becomes competitive. Businesses are realizing the social and economic profits of using solar energy. Those who turned to solar energy as the first ones are the leaders in the competition now. If you want to keep in step, you should develop the green attitude as well.

Those who care about the environment and economic growth will not need more arguments. The energy of sun provides a beneficial alternative for the traditional energy usage. If it is easily available and has so many assets, why not to utilize it?

What should I invest in? Solar Energy!

The heating discussions about climate changes and damages of our ecosystem caused by the traditional industry resulted in the growing popularity and importance of renewables. It is high time we find an alternative for fossil fuels as the main source of energy. Sun and wind have become the perfect solution to the problem caused by the fossil fuels usage. Clean energy is our future so the reality in which we are depending on it is only a matter of time. At the same time, the alternative sources of energy have become a good investment opportunity. The problem is how to invest in it and where to start. In this article we provide some information which may be helpful when you consider investing in clean energy.

Option 1: Stocks in solar companies

One of the possible options for investment is buying solar company stocks. The importance and market position of such companies are likely to become much higher, since the businesses and governments are supposed to turn to solar in the nearest ten years. There is a high probability that the renewable energy companies will take the position of the traditional coal and gas companies. Illumina is one of the top companies in the industry at present.

Option 2: Invest in the government’s solar power schemes

You can invest in solar income funds which are the government’s solar power schemes. As the government’s obligation is to exchange 15% of all the energy into solar by 2020, they are in need of funds. By investing your money, you contribute to achieving the goal. For the contribution you will receive your own part of the profit generated by the solar panels usage.

Option 3: Bonds

Quite a big number of companies use both the traditional and the renewable sources of energy. You do not have to invest in the whole company in order to support their clean energy usage. Instead, you can obtain “mini energy bonds” which enable you to invest just in the renewables and receive profits for contribution, of course.

Option 4: Mutual funds

It can seem quite easy by now unless you are totally inexperienced and unsure which option is actually the best in your case. Do not worry, you can ask for help of a professional financial advisor. By the means of a renewable mutual fund you may enter “a pool” of a larger group of investors. Then, your financial advisor will take the “pooled” money and put it into numerous renewable investments. This is the best option if you are not confident in investing on your own and you are not familiar with the topic – you can avoid stress and many unnecessary losses.

Option 5: Buy a solar panel

The most direct way of investing in the alternative sources of energy is to apply solar panels in your home. Not only are you supporting the green companies and become eco-friendly, but you also save lots of money you used to spend on energy supplies for your household. Moreover, in case of generating more energy than you need, you can sell it back. It may demand quite a lot of funds in the beginning, yet still, in the long run, the profits turn out to be higher than the initial cost.

Alternative energy investments which are most likely to bring you money

Alternative energy industry has been developing very fast. Wind and solar energy have the biggest part of contribution in the change of the world’s energy order. As this area of industry is gaining more power and importance and is continuously developing, investors may see it as a huge opportunity for profits. Unfortunately, the last 10 years showed that investing in alternative energy is not so obviously a gold mine. Bad experiences have burst investors’ bubble and justifiably, made them more skeptical and prudent in investing decisions. For those who need some help in deciding, we present suggestions made by three analysts: Travis Hoium, Jason Hall and Adam Galas. Where should we look for the satisfying return?

Investment as bright as the sun

Travis Hoium focuses on the solar energy. He believes that it has the power to bring the total change of world’s energy use, since it is cheaper than fossil fuels and easily available for everyone. He emphasizes its huge value and great potential. It has not been easy to make money on sun power – bankruptcies of solar companies are quite common, and the risk is really repelling. Luckily, the dark solar energy period is coming to an end. Nowadays, solar industry is entering a phase of consolidation. The industry is becoming safer and more stable. The main players finally emerged from the time of competition between companies. This ends the phase of tests and trials and brings some stability and continuous growth. Hoium mentions First Solar and SunPower as the companies which are worth the investors’ attention in the first place.

The wind of change

Jason Hall proposes turning to wind power. This kind of alternative energy investments has not been popular. The giants such as General Electric or Siemens seem to have dominated the manufacturing area of the industry and there are no utility investments in wind power on offer. However, Hall suggests taking a good look at Vestas Wind Systems – a company producing wind turbines. As he observes, the company has recently recovered from previous slight fall and now their situation is very promising.

Favorable combination

Adam Galas suggests buying the two best yieldcos: 8point3 Energy Partners and Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners. The first one is sponsored by the two leader companies in the solar energy industry (First Solar and SunPower). This option is very likely to generate satisfying profits. Investors receive money from the yieldco which earns it from projects realized by First Solar and SunPower. The contracts for the projects are long-term and fixed-price, thus, the risk of loss is lower. When it comes to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, Galas believes that this investment in hydroelectric and wind is highly beneficial. It may bring 12-15% of return per year to investors. Contracts providing 92% of their money, are adjusted to inflation, fees are fixed and the average life of them is 17 years, which makes this option of investment recommendable.

The last word

Alternative energy industry is the promising ground for investors. However, the level of risk still remains very high. That is why, investors need to know how to invest right. Generally, to decrease the risk look for the strong and settled leaders among the companies and focus on them.

Environmentally friendly companies

Companies such as Wal-Mar, Target, IKEA and Tesco have turned to the environmental sustainability. They have started a new “green” policy and are meeting the sustainability goals they have set. Many other giants of the world market are following them – Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever have also expressed their willingness to turn to the green attitude and start building up a plan for new energy use to become environmentally friendly.

Ecological responsibility

Despite of a variety of ecological strategies implemented by the companies, there is one common element present in all of them – green energy. Its significance comes from its power to influence the companies in important economic, environmental and social areas. Economical aspect concerns the matter of fossil fuels costs which are at lower risk because of conserving energy. Apart from this, many customers have become loyal to eco-friendly companies, thus, being green repays. Environmentally, it is reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses which must become the main concern. In terms of the social area, companies need to consider how their activity will affect the community.

Greenhouse gases emission by United States

Reduce energy consumption

Saving energy is a starting point for all sustainability strategies. Energy efficiency projects bring good profits in a short period of time. Companies, like Tesco or AT&T, admit that implementing such projects helped them save a great amount of money. Nonetheless, the profitable energy efficiency programs alone do not meet the goal of sustainability, they need to be mixed with the less beneficial renewable energy projects.

Energy projects demand a great capital and lots of investments in the beginning. On the other hand, companies need projects with limited initial capital and the usage of internal resources at the minimum level. Hence, the energy projects vary in degrees of commitment. These are:

  • Ownership. This option involves a big investment. When it comes to return, it is 8-10 percent over 20 years of the project which is not highly profitable for the average retailer. But it has other advantages. These are: ability to obtain internal expertise, control over production and development and independence from the conventional energy and the green energy providers.
  • Contracting. Here, the matter of project design, financing, construction and operation remain on the developer’s side. Choosing this option purchase of energy can be cheaper, even below market prices. Its disadvantage can be the contracting firm’s inability to obtain a green expertise.
  • Power Purchase Agreements. Such an agreement is made with a developer or utility for 10-20 years. It assumes a purchase of green power at a fixed price. No resources or capital are required, yet it involves a long-term commitment and does not give a possibility to develop internal expertise.
  • Certification. Renewable energy certificates are the least profitable way of green commitment. Companies declare turning to green by purchasing a commitment incremental to their current costs of energy.

3 useful final suggestions

  1. Find a developing or financing partner.
  2. Find the best solution for you. Do not focus on cross-subsidizing energy efficiency and renewable energy profits, but look through different options and then decide which is most profitable for you.
  3. Do not assume that sustainability means low profits. The potential returns can be lower than the industry average, but good management and finding an appropriate partner in the energy supply market can solve this problem.

Solar power cheaper than the energy of wind?

The world which used to be ruled by coal and gas resources is systematically facing a new order. Renewable energy is trying to take the gas and coal’s position. In the times when people cannot rely solely on the traditional sources of energy the wind and sun become great substitutes. After years of settling the new order, the global energy market has been recently hit by a huge change. Now surprisingly, the solar power is becoming cheaper and cheaper option than the wind energy. We experienced such situations before – there were some projects in the Middle East which generated very low cost.

As Bloomberg New Energy Finance maintains, the current trend shows that even gas and coal are being defeated. And maybe there is nothing extremely shocking in the fact that solar energy has become much more cost-efficient when compared to the usage of the wind power because there were predictions picturing such a prospect, yet no one felt that it can happen so quickly.

According to Ethan Zindler – the head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF – it has been China’s positive impact on solar investement which contributed to this outcome to a large extent.

Is it a better option than coal?

Last year was marked with the solar power continuously growing popularity. The competition between private companies to provide electricity was making solar power cheaper and cheaper. As a result, it reached the half of the coal power price. Solar energy started from scratch and eventually, has become the great power.

The whole process of turning towards the eco-energy may bring more expenses in the richer regions with less urgent energy requirements, where the competition with the well-established coal or gas factories can be much harder and discouraging. However, the countries in need of new sources of electricity will give the renewable energy the top position among any other technologies. The general usage of such alternative sources of energy may increase significantly, thanks to the emerging market economies which are ready to open their door for the new.

Milestone in the world of energy

Finally we can admit that the clean natural energy has outrun the traditional coal and gas together. BNEF published a report presenting a list of the countries which are the most attractive for projects of low-carbon energy. These are China, Chile and Brasil who reached the top. Uruguay, South Africa and India are placed right after.

The emerging markets turned out to leapfrog the wealthier countries and the situation will probably remain the same throughout next years.

Nevertheless, coal and gas still must remain the “kings” among energy resources. They provide support for the time when there’s no wind and sun and until the wind and solar power usage is solidly established. The industry of renewables is still developing and we must wait for its safe “maturity”. For now, we are forced to rely on the fossil fuels. Yet, since there are places where the clean energy support is desperately needed, the matter of renewables usage becomes extremely important and urgent.

How can you invest in renewable energy?

There are many ways of investing in renewable energy. Some of them are more risky and the others are safer. As usual, the risky options can bring more profit – sometimes faster, sometimes you must wait – the safer ones demand a longer period of your patience before you start earning. We list the different ways starting from the most sheltered position to the least. Before making the final decision, cogitate about two aspects: whether you are a daredevil or not really, and what your investment prospects are.

You seek the safest possible options

Both companies and individual investors can invest directly, even in small amounts.

Consider:

  • Joinmosaic.com – a crowdsourcing startup enabling you to get into a solar project, investigated by Mosaic team. The interest rates are set between 4.5-6 percent for 5-6 year of obligation period.
  • Bonds: It is a good way of investing for people who prefer safer options. Now, there are $9 billion of bond available for investors, and the number is going to increase.

Higher risk, higher profit

Another strategy is to buy stock in a company. This option has become safer after the creation of ETFs (exchange-traded funds).

Consider:

  • TAN – the Guggenheim solar industry. You can invest in a fast developing solar energy use with great prospects for the future.
  • PBW – it is The PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Fund – a renewable energy industry which also shows optimistic prospects for growth in the future.
  • LIT – connected with mining and production of lithium. By investing in LIT you invest in the future of the electric cars. After some noted falls there is probably time for their advancement.

Even higher risk, still higher profit

This option is for more patient risk-takers. You buy individual stocks in a renewable energy company and you either become stressed out because of the unstable stock prices fluctuating in short periods of time or choose the companies which handle not only renewables and your situation becomes more stable.

Check out:

  • GE – the company believing in the wind power. GE Wind- owned by GE, is the American leader of wind turbines production.
  • Siemens – this German firm invests a lot in wind and solar power.
  • GM – an American auto company producing electric cars. Invest if you believe in this industry.

Risk goes up

You can also buy individual stocks of renewables or electric cars centred companies which offer very high returns in the long run:

  • Tesla Motors – a very fast-developing company producing electric cars, with a great potential.
  • PG&E – a utility company from California, American ownership leader in renewables. It offers good safe returns and a dividend.
  • Solar City – the US largest solar installer, with 32 % of the residential installations market’s share.
  • Cree – a generator of energy-efficient items.

For daredevils who want the most

People who believe in their personal entrepreneur abilities can try creating their own renewable energy venture. Taking the solar power into consideration, to bring 1-3 megawatt project to life you will need at least $50,000 at start – it will cover all the needed documents as well. If you manage well, your profits can be really high.