Let the Sun Shine In

Going green at home pays for itself. Here’s how.

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Green Street Solar in Selbyville installed the system on this Rehoboth Beach home.Homeowners who invest in solar and geothermal energy systems care about green, as in the environment, and more green—as in their power bills.

Energy-efficient ways to heat water, turn on the lights, and keep us cool in summer and warm in winter are more accessible than ever before. That’s because Uncle Sam wants you to go green.

This year, the federal government has eliminated the $2,000 cap on the tax credit for green systems, contributing 30 percent of the cost. Meanwhile, Delaware, long a leader in renewable energy, is sparking interest with incentives that average an additional 30 percent.

Factor in the rising cost of energy—electric bills have increased an average of 6 percent a year over the past 30 years—and it’s no wonder alternative energy is a hot topic on the home front.

“We’re at the tipping point right now,” says Amanda Gillen, spokeswoman for groSolar in Jessup, Maryland.

Two of the most effective methods of harnessing the earth are solar power and geothermal energy.

Solar electric panels, called photovoltaic, or PV, panels, convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity. The systems are “grid-tied,” meaning that they work in cooperation with your utility provider’s existing grid.

The panels are typically installed on the roof of the property. They’re sited as close to due south as possible to maximize exposure to the sun. Panels can be installed at ground level, but they don’t work as well.

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