Making the Switch to Renewable Energy

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Making the Switch to Renewable Energy

Does winter - and the high energy costs that come with it - have you taking another look at your utility bill? Some consumers have decided solar or wind power is the way to go. But is stepping away from electric or gas power right for you?

Solar upfront costs - Installing solar panels and their equipment, including an inverter and metering equipment, comprises most of the costs associated with switching to solar at your home. The good news is that prices have been falling since 2009.

Wind upfront costs - Residential wind turbines can range from $10,000 to $70,000 depending on the size of the system you need to power your home.

Tax breaks - Solar and wind tax incentives are offered by municipal, state and federal government agencies and can help tremendously with the immediate costs of setting up your new system.

Solar payoff expectancy - The time it takes for your panels to "pay for themselves" can vary depending on cost, installation size and local utility prices. But a payback period under 10 years isn't unheard of these days (in some areas it's four to six years).

Wind payoff expectancy - The payback period for turbines also depends on several factors, including size, kilowatts and energy costs in your area. Experts estimate payoff could be as short as 15 years to as long as nearly 50 years.

Sustainability - Money isn't the only reason to consider these renewable energy sources. Many homeowners have made the switch due to the environmental benefits of moving away from the traditional coal-burning options.

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