The idea of solar power is nothing new. When most people think of solar they imagine a costly and exotic set of solar panels. At around $15,000 (including professional installation) for a family of four, a modern, and efficient photovoltaic (PV) system is similar in cost to an inexpensive car. But as your vehicle sits in the driveway depreciating, your solar panels will continue to deliver cost savings, long after the car is worthless.
If the idea of PV solar still seems a bit costly but you’re still interested in going solar – at 1/3 the cost of a PV system – a fantastic introduction to solar savings is to consider a solar water heater.
Consider this: your traditional electric water heater consumes approximately 25 percent of your overall power usage, making it the most expensive appliance you own. Natural gas is a bit more efficient, but with the continuing rise in utility prices, this will dramatically change in the coming years.
At about $5,000 for a professionally installed solar water heater for a family of four, you can reduce your electric bill by around 22 percent, or significantly cut the cost of your gas bill – year round!
A 30 percent tax credit is available through the federal government. So let’s say you purchased a 5K system, you would receive a $1500 tax credit on your federal income tax. In Idaho there is a 40 percent tax deduction the first year, and for the subsequent three years following that you would receive 20 percent deduction.
For incentives in your area go to the to the DSIRE website.
It is important to know that if federal and local government would provide bigger incentives for innovators and installers – such as what people are already doing in Spain and Germany – the United States could lead the world in technology jobs, and solar systems would be much more affordable. With the enormous emphasis on alternative energy sources, the government needs to place more financial support into this important investment. Now’s the time to contact your local legislature reps and national senators and start putting on the pressure to make these incentives a priority! Get involved locally as well and learn how you can impact your neighboring communities by influencing builders, contractors, and government officials to place their money where their mouths are and go green by going solar.
Looking into getting a solar water heater installed in your home right now is a great cost saving idea, and we can look to the near future for PV to become more and more affordable. A January report from USA Today announced that prices for solar equipment, including installation, would be on the decrease by 15 to 20 percent in 2009. Costs decreased around ten percent in October of 2008. The combination of high worldwide manufacturing capacity for solar equipment and the ongoing recession are credited for this occurrence.
Check back soon on this site for more articles about the benefits of solar energy. Save money and the environment – go solar!