4 Ways You Can Save Money & the Planet at the Same Time

By Jacob Sandry, Mosaic

The environmental movement has done a powerful job of bringing waste and electricity use to the forefront of public consciousness over the past few decades. Conservation actions like recycling, turning the lights off, taking shorter showers, keeping the heat down, biking or carpooling, and buying CFLs are routine actions in the lives of many Americans. In addition to conservation measures people can begin taking powerful actions to address climate change with their money. Here are four new opportunities to take powerful action right now and save money in the process.

1. New Financing Models for Low Cost Home Solar

Innovative financing models In the United States, there is a new home solar system installed every four minutes. The collective residential solar capacity in the United States is expected to double in the next two years. Plummeting solar panel costs and new financing models are driving this rapid expansion.

Five years ago, you needed $30,000+ if you wanted a sizable solar installation on your home. Now, the major solar developers offer financing options that allow you to install solar for $0-1000 down and pay off the cost of the system over 10-20 years with the revenue generated by the electricity from the system. These financing models now account for the majority of solar installations in the United States. Unfortunately, 97% of Americans don’t realize how cheap solar can be. If electricity prices continue to rise at current rates, home solar will make economic sense for a growing portion of the population.

2. Invest in Solar Projects

Solar is a democratic way for power

As grid electricity prices rise, and solar panel prices plummet, solar is becoming an increasingly attractive investment. Major investors have already invested in solar projects – Warren Buffett has over $5 billion in solar projects and Google has multiple $100 million projects.

How is this saving the planet? The World Economic Forum estimates that we need an additional $700 billion in annual global investment in “green” energy infrastructure if we are to have a realistic chance of staving off seriously damaging climate change.

3. Buy an Electric Car

teslamodelscharging

Another clean technology that has had prohibitive upfront costs is electric cars. But new evidence from EPRI indicates that both hybrid and fully electric cars are cheaper over a 60-month ownership period than conventional gasoline powered cars.

4. Divest/Reinvest

divestment

The Fossil Free divestment movement is generating a national conversation about the ethics of investing in fossil fuels. Recent reports have found that endowments and pension funds typically have around 10% of their money invested in fossil fuel assets or debt. A number of colleges, cities, foundations and religious institutions have already pledged to divest. A recent study from Oxford University found that this is the fastest growing divestment campaign in history.

The other side of the coin is re-investing in green infrastructure. Besides investment in solar projects, as mentioned above, equity in clean energy companies could offer solid returns while supporting an industry that is developing our clean energy economy.

Read the original post on Mosaic.

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