When the Wilsons, a typical family living in Harrisburg, PA received a notice in the mail that their energy rates would be jumping up 30% (or more) in 2010 they got good and mad... and then they installed solar panels.
Their install costs were $56,000, $36,000 of which was paid for by a federal tax credit combined with a hefty State rebate. The remaining $20,000 they had to finance on their own, and that's when they turned to My Emissions Exchange, a company which allows homeowners to essentially get paid to reduce their energy impacts by putting home-grown carbon credits onto international carbon trading markets.
The Wilsonâ€™s expect to earn as much as $2,700 per year on the carbon market plus another $600 in eliminated electricity bills, enabling them to pay back their solar investment in less than 6 years, at which point they get free energy for the life of the panels (at least 20 years).
When I first heard about the My Emissions Exchange, my first reaction was a mixture of "Yeah, right.." and "That's f**n genius!" The well-branded (a la FedX) website combined with funky videos set forth a great idea -- reduce your fossil fuel below an established benchmark and sell the difference on the carbon trading markets. But there is controversy around this brave new online carbon trading technology.
Read why and watch the whacky My Emissions Exchange video on MNN.com.
- Karl Burkart