Hoping to reduce their greenhouse emissions, Kelley Hippler and her husband, Tom, installed solar panels on the roof of their Colonial-style home in suburban Sharon in summer 2015. “We had, like a lot of folks, become more aware of global warming and we wanted to look into forms of sustainable energy,” Kelley says.
The couple took advantage of a federal tax credit that lowered the cost of installing their system from $45,000 to $31,500. A state tax credit saved them another $1,000. The solar panels, also known as photovoltaics (PV) systems, have cut the electric bill for their 3,500-square-foot home from an average of $200 a month to basically zero, says Kelley. With the exception of the coldest winter months, they also send enough power back to their electric company most months to earn a small credit on top of the $200 savings. The couple has two meters, one showing how much electricity they draw from their utility company and one showing how much electricity they send back to it. Between September 2015 and April 2016, Kelley says, they earned $100 in credits.