Money Smart Kids Challenge (2010

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Solar energy is a renewable alternative energy source. Our sun provides the energy that is the basis of all life on Earth. Solar energy is found everywhere, it is easy to harness, and it can be used in different ways, from heating and cooling to producing electrical and mechanical power. Because it is easy to use and is a non-pollutant, solar energy is becoming a popular energy choice. In recognition of this, a client of yours has decided to retro-fit his home with solar panels. He is very excited about the monetary savings that will result from such a move in regards to his monthly energy bills as well as the tax benefits he will also receive. He has asked you, as his financial advisor, to assist him in the planning of this endeavor.

During your initial research, you have discovered the following information: 1. This will be an extremely costly project. The initial outlay of money must include both materials and labor for installation. In addition, there will be costs involved in tying the panels into the existing electric grid of his home. 2. While the monthly savings will be considerable, it will take several months for the amount of money saved to equal or exceed the initial financial outlay. 3. The initial outlay of money for this project will have many effects on your client’s daily cash flow and family budget. Your task is to develop a presentation to your client that will help him in this matter. Your presentation should include, but not be limited to, the following items: a) A detailed estimate of the costs involved in the development of the project. (What types of materials are involved? How much labor? What are the costs for labor? Materials?) b) A schedule estimating your client’s “break-even” date. (What will be the monthly savings from this project? How long will it take the project to pay for itself?) c) A detailed cost-benefit analysis of the project which should include financial benefits as well as other “un-planned” benefits that may arise from this type of project. And d) A Specific recommendation, based upon the above three items as well as other information you may determine, as to whether or not your client should undertake this project at this time. Your reasoning for your recommendation should be clear and thorough. e) Please be ready to present and support your findings as well as answer specific questions in regards to your research and your thought process in determining your recommendation to your client.

Response Screening Initial Screening: Responses will be reviewed for completeness (has the response included all of the required elements?) and accuracy of mathematical computations. Responses surviving first screening will be reviewed using the following scoring rubric:
 Thoroughness of Response (30 points) How complete is the response? Did the applicant include all aspects requested? Do the criteria chosen by the applicant include different aspects of the business decision model?  Cohesion of Response (30 Points) How well do the parts of the response fit together? Is the mathematics integrated with the criteria? Do the differences in the mathematics of each option help to drive the decision making process?  Thoughtfulness of Response (15 Points) Does the response exhibit a comprehensive thought process? Does the applicant fully investigate how the criteria are related to each other? Does the applicant fully investigate how the criteria are related the overall business model?  Creativity (15 Points) Did the applicant choose a particularly creative approach to addressing the issue?  Presentation (10 Points) Did the applicant provide a response that is neat, free of errors, and pleasing to the eye?

Secondary Screening:

Final Review:

10 Responses will be submitted for final review. Applicants will be scheduled in 15-20 minute intervals to present their project to the screening committee. The presentation will include a brief question and answer period in which the committee can rate the applicant on his or her ability to speak in front of an audience and “think on his or her feet.”