TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- If you're looking to save money on your home energy expenses, it may be time to go solar. Lower up-front costs and technological advances have made a home solar panel system a realistic option for the average homeowner. And as we learn in this Angie's List report, a federal tax credit is about to expire, so the time to act is now.
Homeowner Brett Johnson loves his home and plans to be in it the rest of his life. He also loves saving money, which is why he decided to invest in a rooftop renewable energy system.
"Primarily because the price of electricity is something I don't see as ever going down, and this is a hedge against that," said Johnson.
Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, adds: "Now is a good time to go ahead and install them because there is a federal tax credit in place right now for 30% back on the entire project installation if it's done by December 31, 2016."
Financial incentives helped solar energy projects surge to record levels in 2014, including a 51-percent increase in residential systems. Also driving the demand: the cost of the panels themselves. That's gone down 80 percent in recent years.
"Almost all systems that are installed come with online monitoring. The homeowner can get online from any computer in the world and see what their system's producing, and based on a sunny day like today, this homeowner would expect to get online and see that their system is producing close to 100 percent," energy solutions expert Jeff Cole.
Your return on investment can now be accomplished in as little as seven to 10 years. Most systems are installed on rooftops, but the panels can also be placed on pergolas, gazebos or even on the ground. Regardless where they're installed, they provide clean energy and are virtually maintenance-free.
"I'm happy with what we did. I like the idea that it's something that you pay for once that continues to produce," said Johnson.
Before installing any system, make sure you're in compliance with city ordinances and home owner association rules. Some panels are more efficient than others, so you should research the differences to understand which ones are best for your home. And don't forget, the systems have to be installed by the end of next year to receive the tax credit.
Remember you can catch the latest Angie's List report every Tuesday morning on WTXL Sunrise.