Costs, benefits of solar energy revealed to residents

Solar Connecticut sponsored a tour of more than 50 ?green? homes on Saturday to give residents a closer look at the benefits and costs of

NORWALK - Solar Connecticut sponsored a tour of more than 50 ?green? homes on Saturday to give residents a closer look at the benefits and costs of solar energy.

Homeowners like John Wynne and John Schlecter say the initial cost of installing ground and roof solar panels in their houses ran between $50,000 and $70,000, but both are happy they switched to sun power. Wynne says he now saves between $125 and $160 a month on his electricity bills, and both insist the environmental benefits are priceless.

?For the same amount of money, you can redo the kitchen, but it wouldn't do a lot for the value of the home or the earth,? Schlecter says. ?To me, environmentalism is about ?I have a kid, I want to give a better world to my son.??

The state is also making going green a little easier for its residents. The recently passed bailout bill has eliminated the original $2,000 cap on tax relief for solar powered homes. Now, any home with solar power can get a tax break of 30 percent off the panels? price.

?Right now Connecticut has one of the best rebates in the country,? says Jodi Gold, of Solar Works Inc. ?From the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, you get back about 50 percent of your system and not only that, you get federal tax incentives.?

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