Easing into Solar
July 1, 2009
|Going solar doesn’t have to mean investing money by the tens of thousands to get on board. There are moderate ways for all of us to start harnessing the sun.|
SOLAR WATER HEATER
One avenue is a solar water heater. Not surprisingly, they do cost significantly more to purchase (from $2,500 on up) than their electric or gas counterparts. But solar does save 50 to 80 percent in water heating costs, and on top of that there’s a tax break available. If you install an Energy Star solar water heater, you may qualify for a federal tax credit for energy efficiency worth 30 percent of the heater’s cost. For more tax credit information, visit www.energystar.gov.
Sources include: www.solardirect.com.
A small, easy DIY project is installing a solar vent. At about $130, these dinner plate-sized vents provide 1,000 cubic feet of airflow, which is perfect for a not-so-big space like a cabin attic, shed, other out-building or boat. It will continue to keep air moving even after two sunless days.
Sources include: www.earthtechproducts.com.
Lastly, you can justify this $80 purchase purely for safety, but you’ll want one because it’s cool. That’s a solar-powered or crank-powered radio that also doubles as a cell phone charger. It provides AM/FM and all the weather coverage you can handle, and it’s completely off the grid.
Sources include: www.earthtechproducts.com (Click on “Lights & Radios.”).
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