Solar Integrated to save energy
Few technologies exist that can do more for you personally than solar power. If you play your cards right (and live in a region that gets enough sun), a solar installation can be literally free over the long term, and can actually pay you in the end. Having said that, the pitfalls (e.g., your money falling into a pit) are everywhere, meaning it also requires some research to avoid becoming a catastrophe rather than a benefit.With companies like Google jumping into the fray by leasing solar panels to US homeowners, things may get a bit easier for you and me. But these initiatives are just kicking off, and if you're worried about targeted ads in your electricity (or something), you're on your own. Luckily, the government really, really wants you to install this technology. For starters, you'll get a 30 percent federal tax rebate on the price of a solar panel installation without any dollar limits. Most states offer similar rebates making it possible to recoup up to 80 percent of the price of solar panel setup.Considering that the average price of a solar installation fell dramatically last year to $4.72 per watt, a median 5KW installation will cost about $23,600 (that varies wildly between states and regions). Rebates included, you could whittle that down to $7,000 - $15,000, a reasonable sum for many homeowners. That's before we factor in energy savings.According to industry figures, solar power users saved about $84 per month or $20,160 over 20 years. Most panel installations are grid-connected too, meaning your clean energy flows back to other users so that they, too, avoid using polluting sources like fossil fuels. If you produce more electricity than you consume, your power company may actually cut you a check.