BOSTON, MA – November 9, 2011
Are clean energy systems the next great financial product? That is the idea at the core of EnergySage.com, a new online resource from Distributed Energy Research & Solutions, Inc., that launched its beta site today. EnergySage.com was created to make the financial case in favor of clean energy adoption and then assist homeowners and commercial property owners in researching and buying appropriate clean energy systems to heat, cool, or power their properties. The user-friendly website bridges significant information gaps that exist in the marketplace regarding both the technologies themselves and the economic benefits they provide. The site provides authoritative information, tools, and personalized guidance for all aspects of a clean energy system purchase – from initial research through selection and installation. It also provides information and reviews of clean energy system brands, local installers, and contractors as well as financing and leasing companies. In addition to its web presence, the company also provides additional support to consumers via online, and onsite consulting services.
EnergySage.com differentiates itself by allowing consumers to simultaneously evaluate the full range of clean energy options – solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, small wind, geothermal, combined heat and power and biomass / biofuel systems. It also empowers consumers to identify and purchase the clean energy systems that are best suited to their properties, goals, and budgets.
EnergySage.com is built on two key principles. The first is that clean energy technologies have matured to the point where almost any building – residential or commercial – can be heated, cooled or powered by a clean energy system with significant financial benefits. The second is that clean energy systems are an investment with attractive economic benefits capable of generating annual returns (in the form of savings) that typically range from 5%-25% for homeowners and 10%-40% for businesses. The savings are tax-free, consistent and practically guaranteed for 20-40 years, the expected life of the system.
“The clean energy purchase process can be complicated and confusing for consumers. Many opt out because they can’t be sure they’re making the right decision,” explains Founder and President Vikram Aggarwal. “EnergySage.com is designed to make this process easy. We empower consumers to take control of rising energy bills and start saving money.”
A key feature of the EnergySage.com site is a patent-pending wizard that delivers customized recommendations of suitable clean energy solutions and then connects site users to leading brands, installers, and financiers of these systems. The site also includes local case studies submitted by current clean energy consumers that demonstrate the effectiveness of specific clean energy applications as well as the underlying economics. The robust community of clean energy consumers also serves as a source of insights and guidance to prospective consumers.
Clean Energy As a Financial Product – A Game-Changing Paradigm Shift
EnergySage.com believes that, in order for clean energy adoption to be pervasive, home and business owners have to be convinced of the financial benefits. Environmental and community benefits alone are not enough to spark widespread adoption. Installing clean energy systems in homes and businesses can deliver returns on investment that rival traditional investment vehicles. The company’s research suggests that clean energy systems should be viewed as a new “asset class” which can be a good complement to traditional investment options such as stocks, bonds, and real estate when assembling a household investment portfolio. Likewise, clean energy systems can be a terrific capital investment for businesses because they generate high internal rate of return, reduce operating costs, and reduce the risks associated with rising and volatile energy costs.
“Our research shows that nearly two-thirds of consumers either don’t think of clean energy systems as investments or are unaware of the attractive returns they generate,” continued Aggarwal. “Our unique economic approach is designed to win over consumers who are increasingly focused on the bottom-line. By simplifying the process and focusing on a message that resonates with a broad base of potential consumers we can bring clean energy systems further into the mainstream.”
Although clean energy systems are not liquid assets, the annual returns (in the form of savings) they produce have several additional advantages vis-à-vis traditional investments:
- The returns are all but guaranteed for 20-40 years (the typical operational life span of the system).
- The returns are expected to get better every year. On average, gas, electricity and heating oil prices have increased between 5% and 10% every year. Effectively, this means that the amount saved each year increases 5%-10%.
- Returns are in the form of savings and therefore are tax-free: Returns are not income and hence not subjected to federal or state income taxes.
- Clean energy systems increase the value of real estate. Research studies estimate that each dollar saved in energy costs can add up to $20 in real estate value. Also, homes equipped with clean energy systems sell faster and at a premium that often is sufficient to pay back the cost of the system.
- Additional benefits may include tax credits, deductions and exemptions that further reduce property owners’ federal, state, and local tax bill in the purchase year.
Using information to remove roadblocks to purchase
Increased interest in clean energy systems is driven by several factors including rising energy prices (2-3X the rate of inflation for fossil fuels and electricity), increased awareness and interest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and growing concerns over the use of nuclear energy. Despite these factors, sales are not keeping pace with interest due to a lack of readily available and easy to understand information. Consumers remain confused and uniformed of the applications, their suitability, and the underlying economics of clean energy systems.
EnergySage research suggests specific concerns include doubts about the cost/benefit justification, lack of information about system performance, maintenance requirements, upfront costs, and general information about technology, products, and services.
Exhibit: Information needs of consumers
“Most of the hurdles that exist in the marketplace today can be easily addressed,” said Aggarwal. “We believe that by providing consumers with the information they need and access to other consumers who have gone before them, we can instill the confidence necessary to move ahead, make that call to an installer, and get the process rolling.”
About EnergySage, Inc.
EnergySage provides the first comprehensive online marketplace for consumers and businesses interested in converting to solar energy. By enabling people to comparison shop for “apples-to-apples” competitive quotes from pre-screened installers and financiers, the EnergySage Marketplace typically delivers cost-savings of up to 20 percent when compared to going directly to installers. EnergySage also simplifies today’s complex solar industry by providing tools and unbiased information that enable people to fully understand their product and financing options as well as their return-on-investment scenarios. Many leading organizations have forged partnerships with EnergySage to promote the adoption of solar energy, including Connecticut Green Bank, Staples, Walgreens and the World Wildlife Fund. For more information, please visit: www.energysage.com.
Estimate your savings with our Solar Calculator www.energysage.com
EnergySage.com is operated by EnergySage, Inc.