Using Solar Power

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Apr 24, 2008 at 6:15 PM EDT

You could get a sales tax break if you turn to the sun for power.

People who convert their homes to solar power could buy a system tax free.

The Broome County Legislature voted ______ to drop the county's 4% sales tax on residential systems.

New York does not charge sales tax either.

Plus, there are federal rebates and tax credits.

The idea is to encourage people reduce their energy costs.

But what would it cost you to convert your power source to solar?

And, how much could you really save?

Action News Reporter Gabe Osterhout visits a home in Binghamton that made the switch.

Germaine Adler of Binghamton installed solar panels on her roof 3 years ago.

She wants to power her home without hurting the environment.

"I do not want to just use oil, or just gas or just electricity. This house used to be all electric. The bills used to be 500 to 700 a month and that was quite a lot," says Adler.

After the solar installation, Adler's electric bill dropped dramatically.

Her NYSEG bill is now less than 60 dollars a month.

"Power is available to the house when I need it. For instance, at night, you will not make any solar energy at all. So during the night, I'm using power from NYSEG," says Adler.

These panels capture solar rays,.

That power feeds into a box, which converts it from DC to AC.

The energy goes straight into the circuit box.

The panels work best if they are placed on the roof, and not subject to shade.

Gay Conough of ETM Solar Works, says the systems are becoming more popular in our area.

And are better for the environment.

"It's clean, it's green, it's renewable. The sun has been here for 5 billion years and it's going to be here another 5 billion years so I think it's about time for us humans to be as smart as plants and use the power of the sun," says Conough.

An average system for a home costs about 45 thousand dollars.

But, New York State will pay almost half the cost.

The state also provides the homeowner about 7 thousand dollars in tax credits.

Conough says with the rising costs of energy, the system can pay for itself in 10 to 15 years.

Gabe Osterhout, WBNG-TV Action News.

To get the incentives, you must have your system installed by a company certified by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA.

For a complete list of certified companies, log on to www.powernaturally.org and click on solar installers.

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