5 Solid Reasons Why Solar Panels Aren’t a Good Investment Right Now

Solar is becoming more popular. An increasing number of Americans are considering making the switch but are unsure if it is suitable for them or their property. Are solar panels a good investment? At a budgetary cost of $1000 per installed solar panel. Typically the number required for a full residential installation is 20 panels. Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t invest in a solar installation right now.

#5 You’re Going to Move

If you’re planning on selling your house in the next year, you might want to put off installing solar panels. Although homes with solar panels often sell for more money, you might want to wait until you’ve found a home you’ll be in. Thus in a few more years so you can truly appreciate the savings your solar panels will provide.

#4 Your Roof Is Old and Needs Repair

Solar panels help extend the life of your roof by sheltering it from harsh weather and ultraviolet rays. That is if your home or company has a properly functioning roof. If you need to make roof repairs, you should put off getting solar until those repairs are completed. If you are planning on installing a new roof, contact a professional about what is needed to incorporate a solar panel installation.

#3 Your Roof Is In Shade or Blocked By Buildings

Your solar panels need to be exposed to the sun for long periods to be worth the money. Rooftop solar may not be suited for you if your home or business’s roof is surrounded by barriers that limit the quantity of sunshine you receive. However, if you have enough land on your home that receives adequate sunlight, you might want to consider installing a ground-mounted solar system.

#2 You Lack Enough Space

Solar may not be ideal for you if your home or business has a tiny roof that prevents you from installing enough panels to generate enough energy to make a significant difference in your power cost.

#1 You Cant, Qualify for Solar Incentives and Rebates

The federal government’s solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is the most major solar incentive program accessible, although various incentives and rebate schemes are available for solar panel installations. The ITC gives property owners who install eligible solar systems a 26 percent tax credit on their installation costs, provided they do so by December 31, 2022. In 2023, the percentage reduces to 22% for businesses, 10% for firms in 2024, and zero for residential developments in 2025.

You’ll qualify for this program so long as you don’t owe back taxes, your system is a small-scale photovoltaic system—having a capacity of less than 1 megawatt (MW), and you’re placing it on a qualifying owner’s property. However, if you can’t meet those requirements, then solar might not be suitable for you.

What is the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Panel Installations?

The Homeowners Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics noted that the federal home solar energy credit is a federal income tax credit. This can be claimed for a percentage of the cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system.  (Although other sources of renewable energy are eligible for equivalent credits, they are outside the scope of this guidance.)

Congress extended the ITC in December 2020, providing a 26 percent tax credit for systems installed in 2020-2022. In addition a 22 percent tax credit for systems installed in 2023.  Unless Congress renews it, the tax credit will expire in 2024.

There is no limit to the amount that can be claimed.

Case Study A 2018 Solar Installation Pays Off

Here is a video of a homeowner who went through a solar panel installation on his home in 2018. He reports the economics of his investment nine months later. While the average payback period is typically up to ten years, some recover their investment in four years or less.

Take-A-Ways – Are Solar Panels A Good Investment?

Its only been in the last few years that wind energy is paying off as a good investment in renewable energy. It’s thought that solar energy isn’t far behind.

Before taking on an expensive investment with installing solar panels on the exterior of your home it’s worth talking to a professional installer. They will evaluate the suitability of your structure, its roof, and the general environment. Contact All Energy Solar. They will determine if your home or business is right for solar. They will review the incentives & rebates you may qualify for and provide accurate ROI forecasting.

Disclaimer: This essay is not intended to be expert tax advice or financial advice. It should also not be utilized as the sole source of information for making purchasing, investment, or tax choices. Nor when entering into any legally binding arrangements. Seek the advice of a professional.

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$622 Million COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program to Help Stave Off Evictions in Michigan

by Mary Schuermann Kuhlman

LANSING, Mich. — The pandemic has exacerbated the struggles of low-income Michiganders, including the severe housing cost burden faced by many renters.

New funding can help ease that burden, including $622 million available through the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program to keep renters in their homes and help landlords recoup missed payments.

Michigan’s Eviction Diversion Program ended in December.

Eva Rohlman, outreach services director for Mid-Michigan Community Action, said low-income renters have gone without financial support since then.

“They need it absolutely now,” Rohlman emphasized. “The resources that currently exist in communities cannot keep up. We are getting calls every day from landlords and tenants who are behind, know they’re behind and need help.”

Community Action Agencies and other local nonprofits will be assisting with program applications and funding distribution.

Prior to the pandemic, an estimated one in three Michigan renters was extremely low-income, and many spent more than half of their income on housing.

Kelly Rose, chief housing solutions officer for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, said to qualify for the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program, renters need to be below 80% of the area median income, which is adjusted by county and household size.

“And then they also have to experience a COVID hardship,” Rose explained. “So have been on unemployment, had a reduction in income, increased expenses or another financial hardship to be eligible for the program.”

Rose added more than 50,000 households are expected to receive payment assistance, which could be as high as $10,000 dollars.

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Michigan Unemployed Freelance and Gig Workers Can Get $100/week With MEUC Claim

The gig economy is finally being recognized as a powerful economic factor during the Covid-19 pandemic. Michigan’s Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation, MEUC, provides an additional $100 per week in supplemental benefits for those who made at least $5,000 in the past year. Michigan applicants filing for a MEUC claim need to prove they were engaged in Self-Employment.“Self-employment income” means the net earnings from self-employment obtained during a taxable year. If you filed for unemployment in 2020, you must provide self-employment income documentation from your most recent taxable year, which would be “2019”. The benefit is payable retroactively from the week ending January 2 through March 13.

Type of Self Employment

Freelancer – Social Media Specialist, Makeup-artists, Developer, Event-coordinator, Photographers, graphic designers, writers, artists and other creative activity work may be considered freelance work.

Independent Contractor – Work that is defined and may be of limited duration. The entity offering the contract doesn’t have to withhold taxes or social security. You provide them with your taxpayer ID number (SSN, EIN, etc.).

Temporary Worker – Working on your own time and schedule or for a short duration such as a special event.

Seasonal Staff – These include areas such as tax preparer, seasonal sports, and even summer work such as mowing lawns.

Independent Business Owner – This category includes Avon, Mary Kay, AdvoCare and Essential oils. It and also include being a Lyft or Uber driver.

Proof of Self-Employment

Michigan’s Unemployment Agency stated that eligible participants were mailed notice or informed via the Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) account. To file for the MEUC program, claimants must apply online must submit proof of self-employment income.

If you dont have a tax return, other forms of acceptable documentation of self-employment income can be offered, such as:

  • 1099
  • Paycheck stubs,
  • Bank receipts,
  • Business records,
  • Self-employment ledger
  • Form 1040 SE with Schedule C, F, or SE
  • Form 1065 Schedule K1 with Schedule E
  • Bookkeeping records, including receipts for all allowable expense
  • Contracts,
  • Invoices
  • Billing statements

It’s important to note that the MEUC is taxable income and payments will be included for purposes of determining income for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Therefore, MEUC payments may affect an individual’s eligibility for these programs.

More Information and How to Make Your Michigan MEUC Claim

For more information and details on the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation web page. To file a claim, create an account or log in to Michigan’s Web Account Manager, MiWAM.
Under Alerts, click on “File a MEUC claim” link follow the instructions to submit your application.

Related Reading for Michigan MEUC Claim

Chain Pharmacies Look to Hire 1000s for Vaccine Support

Next week a federal program is starting across several chain pharmacies to distribute and administer the Covid-19 vaccine. As a result, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Kroger, and CVS mount an aggressive hiring program. They look to hire licensed pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, health care students, nurses, and other administrative staff. The chains are also reaching out to colleges looking for recent grads in the health care sector as vaccinators. Depending on the location and demand, signing bonuses in the 5 figures are being reported.

Drug Stores Have High Targets to Fill

The Pharmacists website, AphA reports that CVS has been on the hunt for pharmacists and pharmacy techs since last October. Hy-Vee stated intentions to bring on 1,000 pharmacy technicians. CVS looks to fill 15,000 positions. Kroger and Rite Aid are both looking to fill about 1,000 jobs each. Walgreen’s has targeted the recruitment of 9,000 people; so far, they have filled 7,500 positions.

Pharmacies Partaking in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program

The Centers for Disease Control is instituting the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. This program collaborates between the federal government, states, territories, and 21 national pharmacy chains and independent pharmacy networks. It aims to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the United States. As vaccine availability increases over time, the program will grow to include all 40,000+ pharmacies eventually. The following is a list of the retail pharmacies in each state receiving vaccine through this program during the week of February 8, 2020.

  • Walgreens (including Duane Reade)
  • CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (including Long’s)
  • Walmart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club)
  • Rite Aid Corp.
  • The Kroger Co. (including Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smiths, City Market, Dillons, Mariano’s, Pick-n-Save, Copps, Metro Market)
  • Publix Super Markets, Inc.
  • Costco Wholesale Corp.
  • Albertsons Companies, Inc. (including Osco, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Star Market, Shaw’s, Haggen, Acme, Randalls, Carrs, Market Street, United, Vons, Pavilions, Amigos, Lucky’s, Pak n Save, Sav-On)
  • Hy-Vee, Inc.
  • Meijer Inc.
  • H-E-B, LP
  • Retail Business Services, LLC (including Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Bros Co, Stop & Shop)
  • Southeastern Grocers
  • Topco Associates, LLC (including Acme Fresh Markets, Associated Food Stores, Bashas, Big-Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center, Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Super One Pharmacy, FRESH by Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Coborn’s Pharmacy, Cash Wise Pharmacy, MarketPlace Pharmacy, Giant Eagle, Hartig Drug Company, King Kullen, Food City Pharmacy, Ingles Pharmacy, Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Pharmacies, Save Mart Pharmacies, Lucky Pharmacies, SpartanNash, Price Chopper, Market 32, Tops Friendly Markets, ShopRite, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Inc.)
  • GeriMed (long-term care and retail pharmacies)
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacy and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation’s pharmacy services administrative organization (PSAO), Elevate Provider
  • Health Mart Pharmacies
  • Innovatix (long-term care pharmacies)
  • LeaderNET and Medicine Shoppe, Cardinal Health’s PSAOs
  • Managed Health Care Associates (retail and long-term care pharmacies)

Related Reading Drug Stores Hiring

5 Profitable Reasons to Invest In Wind Energy

Until recently, there is no question that technologies such as wind turbines were less efficient than using fossil fuel. Why are we investing so much in renewable in terms of tax breaks and legislation for wind energy development? The reason is simple; it’s a great and profitable investment in the future.

Wind Farm Sign in the Thumb

It may be time to consider two things: 1) Change how lease payments are made on land hosting wind turbines to profit the entire community. 2) Examine the current policies to ensure ongoing investment is made, and incremental growth can continue. Moratoriums are a stop-gap, not a long term solution.

#1 The Wind is a Pollution-free Source of Energy

Overall, using wind to produce energy has fewer effects on the environment than many other energy sources. The source of the power, wind, does not release harmful emissions that pollute the air or water.

As technology develops and investment in wind turbines is made, it will lower emissions for electricity generation. Fossil fuel power plants that burn coal are being dismantled in certain areas of the country that use wind generation.

Demolition of the Harbor Beach Michigan Coal Power Plant

#2 Wind Energy is Space Efficient

Wind turbines can operate in the community. Typically in open spaces such as farms and prairie lands. The space under and near the turbines can still be used to grow crops and graze cattle.

Wind Turbines in Michigan’s Thumb

Land that is taken is the pad area under the turbine and service access road easement. Power cables carrying the generated electricity are typically buried.

This means on a per kilowatt basis, each turbine is efficient and has the capacity to power thousands of homes and businesses.

#2 Wind Energy Has A Fast Return on Investment (ROI)

For years wind energy detractors pointed to the high upfront cost and the high per-kilowatt contract cost of wind generation. With a useful life of about 20 years, wind turbines’ ROI (return on investment) is now paid back in 5-8 months.

While the initial cost of a wind turbine is high, the source of the power, wind, is free. Turbines also have relatively low running costs once they are constructed and need little maintenance.

#3 Wind Energy is Now Cheaper than Coal

One report examining the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) shows U.S. renewable energy prices continued falling over the past year. Both wind and solar hitting new lows, and costs fell below the cost of coal in 2018.

Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2019 – Lazard

#4 Wind Energy is A New Source For High Tech Jobs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted over the next ten years, wind turbine service technicians are the #1 fastest growing occupations with an average salary of $53,900.

20 occupations with the highest percent change of employment between 2019-29 – United States Department of Labor

While still an emerging job sector, the number of renewable energy jobs now exceeds 120,000. Today, over 530 factories in 43 states build wind and solar energy related parts and supplies.

#5 Wind Energy Protects Our Future

Wind energy is only one of the solutions to reduce the proven effects of global climate change. By investing in the technology and its implementation, growth has meant that its become more cost efficient in the energy produced.

This video presents a non-political outline of the situation that the planet finds itself in. It does not offer any solutions. This was first posted on Thumbwind in 2012. Eight years later it resonates even more.

Some may consider it propaganda while others consider it prophetic. It’s required viewing in several classes in colleges throughout Michigan.

Sources: Wind Energy Development

#1 – U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis. (n.d.). Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/wind/wind-energy-and-the-environment.php

#2 – Richard, M. (n.d.). The Energy Payback for a 2-Megawatt Wind Turbine That Lasts Over 20 Years Is… 5-8 Months. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.treehugger.com/energy-paypack-megawatt-wind-turbine-lasts-over-years-months-4858396

#3 – Singh, D. (n.d.). Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2019. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.lazard.com/perspective/lcoe2019

#4 – Fastest Growing Occupations : Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2020, September 01). Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm

#5 – Incubatepictures. (2012, February 11). There’s No Tomorrow (limits to growth & the future). Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOMWzjrRiBg

Don’t Let COVID-19 Affect Your Credit Score

(NewsUSA) – Since March, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned millions of Americans’ financial situations upside down.

5 Steps to Protect Your Credit Score If Affected By Covid

The economy is showing signs of recovery, but with many Americans still unemployed and having to dip into their savings to cover basic living costs, the question remains: How do you protect your credit score? Read on for some answers.

Contact your lender ASAP if you can’t make a payment

On-time payments are the largest factor affecting your credit score. Many lenders have agreed to emergency support such as deferral or forbearance options that may allow you to reduce or suspend payments for a fixed period. If those terms are set to expire soon, you should “call your lender to discuss what options are available,” said Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy for the credit reporting agency Experian.

Look for ways to boost your credit score

Building credit can be challenging, especially if you have a limited credit history. Experian’s free tool, Experian Boost, can help raise your FICO score instantly by giving you credit for on-time utility, phone, and streaming service payments.

This type of alternative financial data, known as “consumer-permissioned data,” allows you to manage your data with confidence and qualify for better credit. In fact, two out of three Experian Boost users see an increase in their credit score with an average increase of about 12 points. That’s enough to make a significant difference when applying for a loan or any type of credit.

Consider getting a balance transfer credit card or one with an introductory offer

Handled responsibly, this actually has the potential to increase your credit score while either buying you time to pay off your debts or getting a “welcome bonus” of perhaps hundreds of dollars. If you’re looking for personalized credit card options, tools like Experian CreditMatch can help you get the right card based on your financial profile.

Pay attention to your utilization ratio

Your credit score is based on your total balance-to-limit ratio (a.k.a. “utilization rate”). Adding a new credit card increases your total available credit. As long as your total credit balance remains the same, you’d be decreasing your utilization rate, which can potentially boost your credit score. Be sure to transfer balances to the card with lower interest and be mindful of temporary low-interest rates.

While any balance can cause scores to decline, you should keep your utilization under 30 percent, both overall and on individual accounts. Shooting for a top credit score? “Keep your utilization in the single digits, or even better, pay your credit card balances in full each month,” said Griffin.

Fight fraudsters by checking your credit report regularly

There’s been a huge jump in attempted credit – and debit-card fraud since the pandemic hit; consumers have lost more than $100 million to COVID-19-related fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

You can receive free weekly credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion through April 2021 by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Experian also offers a free credit monitoring service that includes real-time alerts, credit score tracking, and an updated report every 30 days.

Note: The Two Verbs Project does not provide financial or legal advice. Consult a professional for your own situation.

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