Saving a bunch of money and retiring early. Sounds like the dream, right? Well, for those who follow the FIRE Movement, it’s not just a dream. It’s a reality. And for many in the FIRE Community, solar energy is a secret to their savings and retirement success.
By harnessing the financial benefits of solar energy, many in the FIRE Movement have gained financial independence and retired much earlier than their peers. It might be hard to believe, but it works!
What is the FIRE Movement? What is its solar energy secret? And how can you take advantage of the same financial benefits of generating your own solar power?
Let’s find out!
In This Article:
- What is the FIRE Movement?
- Why is the FIRE Movement Attractive?
- The FIRE Movement’s Enemy: Rising Utility Costs
- The FIRE Movement’s Solar Energy Secret
- The Benefits of Solar Ownership
WHAT IS THE FIRE MOVEMENT?
The FIRE Movement stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early, and is made up of people who have devoted themselves to strict budgeting and savings techniques with the aim of investing their savings and retiring early.
For many, this retirement strategy means saving up to 70% of their annual income. Once their savings total 30 years of income or more, they can quit their day job or retire altogether.
For many FIRE devotees, this means they can retire much earlier than is normally possible and live off their investments and savings well into old age.
What is one secret to the FIRE Movement’s budget and savings goals? Solar panels. But more on that soon.
Estimate your total savings, payments, and total energy usage with our FREE solar calculator.
WHY IS THE FIRE MOVEMENT ATTRACTIVE?
To some people, the FIRE Movement might sound like a huge challenge. Saving up so much of your money is not an easy task for many people. However, the dream of retiring early on your own terms is very attractive.
The FIRE Movement is based on the idea that life does not have to be based around working into your old age unless that is something you truly want to do! The movement asks people to consider if the hours they spend at work provide them with the highest quality of life.
The FIRE Movement caught on with many Millennials and Gen Z who watched older generations work long hours into old age and decided that limiting expenses now will provide a higher quality of life in their later years.
To achieve these goals, a large part of the FIRE Movement concentrates on strong budgeting and savings discipline. Unfortunately, one enemy is a fearsome foe for many FIRE devotees: the constantly rising expense of utility costs.
THE FIRE MOVEMENT’S ENEMY: RISING ENERGY COSTS
One of the main elements of the FIRE Movement is budgeting wisely and saving money. Unfortunately, there is one household expense that is very difficult to budget for and save on: utility costs.
It is nearly impossible to accurately budget for utility costs each month. How many kilowatts do you think you will use in the next 30 days? Don’t know? Me neither.
Plus, utility rates are constantly increasing. On average, utility rates rise 5% each year. But those rate hikes are purely at the discretion of the utility companies. Sometimes rates can increase by 10% or more without warning, making budgeting impossible.
To put utility rate inflation in perspective, a 5% annual rate increase means that a $150 monthly energy bill could go from costing $1,800 per year to a whopping $2,660 per year in just 8 years. Ouch! That’s painful!
And what’s worse is that most consumers have little to no option to switch utility companies. They are stuck with these rate increases, and little to nothing they can do about it. And to top it off, the current inflationary environment means the cost of everything (including energy) is under even more upward pressure.
However, the FIRE Movement has tapped into a secret that is becoming more and more popular to fight utility costs: solar energy.
THE FIRE MOVEMENT SOLAR ENERGY SECRET
Many members of the FIRE Movement have turned to a secret weapon to control their expenses and reach their retirement goals. That secret is solar energy.
Through solar energy, the FIRE Community has been able to lock in energy costs and even pay little to nothing for their energy.
How is this? How can the FIRE Movement beat the system and actually SAVE money on their monthly energy expenses?
The secret is that investing in producing your own energy saves you HUGE money in the long run. By producing your own energy, you not only control the energy you use, you also control the cost.
That’s right! With solar panels, you can produce your own energy, which makes you less reliant on the utility company. And if you add a battery backup system, you can even go off-grid and be totally disconnected from the utility grid. In that case, you have total control and energy freedom!
And with solar panels, you can also control the cost of your energy. No longer will you be at the whim of the solar company’s price increases and added fees. You can lock in your energy rate and make budgeting a breeze. If energy prices go up, the value of the solar energy you generate goes up too! And that makes your initial investment look even more valuable.
Plus, with solar financing, you can know exactly what your monthly solar payment will be (which is sometimes less than your current utility payment) and have certainty that once you pay off your solar panels, you will essentially have free energy.
This is exactly why the FIRE Community uses solar energy as a secret weapon in their budgeting and savings goals. By locking in their energy rates and producing their own energy, FIRE devotees can not only budget and save their money, they can also avoid future inflated costs and achieve their early retirement goals.
And let’s not forget about the federal solar tax credit (aka Investment Tax Credit, or ITC). The federal government will provide a generous 26% tax credit for the entirety of your solar install costs. This not only reduces the cost, it also provides a good chunk of change!
While you can choose to apply the solar tax credit to your monthly solar payments, a better strategy might be to invest that money for future growth. This falls in line perfectly with FIRE strategy of saving and investing your money wisely for future growth and early retirement.
THE BENEFITS OF SOLAR OWNERSHIP
Clearly, solar energy is a great solution for the FIRE Community’s financial goals, but solar is also a great solution for so many other households.
Here are just a few of the additional benefits of solar ownership:
- Eliminate your electricity bill: By installing solar panels, a household can produce their own electricity and almost entirely eliminate their utility bills. Once the solar system is paid off, it is like getting free energy!
- Federal Solar Tax Credit: The federal government currently offers a 26% solar tax credit. This is a huge savings on the cost of a solar panel system, and it jumpstarts your solar savings right away! But you need to act fast. The 26% solar tax credit decreases to 22% in 2023 and expires in 2024. Learn more about solar tax credit.
- State and Local Solar Incentives: There are many state and local solar incentives you can also benefit from. These can be provided by your state and local governments, utilities, or local organizations. To learn more about Oregon solar incentives, click here.
- Increase Home Value: Not many people realize that solar panels can increase your home value. According to Zillow, solar panels increase home value by 4% on average. And as solar becomes more popular and in demand, this number is likely to increase. Read more about the Zillow report and additional studies that found similar results.