Did you know you can earn more than kudos for going solar?
Its true! A family in Pennsylvania was the first in the nation to receive a personal carbon credit for reducing their fossil-fuel based energy to the point of saving 1 ton of CO2 emissions.
What does that mean, you may wonder? Here’s how Wikipedia explains personal carbon trading:
Personal carbon trading refers to proposed emissions trading schemes under which emissions credits are allocated to adult individuals on a (broadly) equal per capita basis, within national carbon budgets. Individuals then surrender these credits when buying fuel or electricity. Individuals wanting or needing to emit at a level above that permitted by their initial allocation would be able to engage in emissions trading and purchase additional credits.
Conversely, those individuals who emit at a level below that permitted by their initial allocation have the opportunity to sell their surplus credits. Thus, individual trading under Personal Carbon Trading is similar to the trading of companies under EU ETS.
In other words, saving energy can help you purchase energy!
Getting back to the Pennsylvania family… here’s what they did. In 2009, they installed a solar panel system on their home, and also made additional energy savings upgrades. This year, they registered with myemissionsexchange.com, which verifies the amount of CO2 emissions saved and can then sell carbon credits. The Wilsons sent their pre-solar and post-solar electricity bills, and then got the amazing news that they had saved more than a ton of CO2 emissions as a result of the installation!
Next, the Wilsons decided to sell their windfall.
The personal carbon credit was bought for… well… a mere $21.50. Yet, that’s better than a rate hike! And, not only will the family pay off their solar panel system within about 6 years, but they’ll also enjoy property value increase, as well as free energy for years to come. Did I mention the fact that a TON of CO2 emissions will be saved by this one family, alone?
In the years ahead, the extra cash that can be recouped through personal carbon trading could increase – depending on the laws enacted by Congress. Whether we’re talking cap and trade, or a carbon tax bill, a family of four could pocket an additional $1,000 each year…. on top of significant savings on utility bills!
Kudos for going solar definitely go out to the Wilson family. And for many people that are considering converting to solar electricity, its not really about a personal carbon credit. Over time, however, it could be just the incentive to get people off the fence and tapped into solar power.