SmartMoney Monday: installing photo-voltaic panels on your home

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In honor of Earth Day on April 22, all this April, Smart Money Monday segments will be devoted to learning more about going green. Today we're going to learn all about the benefits of installing solar photo voltaic panels at your home. Hawaii is the perfect environment for solar. Our imported energy costs are three times higher than on the Mainland. So, with all this sunshine, and tax incentives from the state and federal government, Hawaii has one of the highest per capita rates of solar power usage in the U.S.

There are several ways you can go solar.   You can own the system yourself, in which case you can either pay cash or get a solar loan. When you own the system, either by paying cash or with a solar loan, you can save 40 to 70% over the lifetime of your solar panels. There are many $0 down loans that allow you to finance the total amount of your solar system. Also, when you purchase the system you can take advantage of all the Federal and State tax credits.

If you don't want to buy the system or can't afford it, the best option is to lease the system. It's pretty much like renting the system. There's usually no money out of your pocket. With a lease, the solar company owns and maintains the system, so you don't have to worry about repair or maintenance. With a lease, you can still expect to achieve roughly 10 to 30% savings over the cost of your electricity bill.

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