Installing solar panels is one way a household can help the environment while saving money in the long term. In Cincinnati, one company offering the service is Solar Earth, a start-up founded by Julie Jones and Jennifer Wolford that installs solar panels on both businesses and homes.
Jones originally worked at Cinergy. After she had a daughter and decided to start up her own business, she looked into solar power.
“I always was interested in the environment, and I always loved the idea of making things greener,” Jones says.
That drive pushed Jones to solar energy, which, on top of being a completely clean form of energy, she believes is a viable alternative to the traditional fuels even for the average home.
The average house will use a 16-panel system, according to Jones. That system would cover about half of a home’s electric bill with an initial price tag of $18,000.
“The system will pay for itself in eight to 10 years depending on the size of the system,” she says. “The one caveat is that [people] have to make the initial investment.”
There are some other incentives for going solar as well. Until 2016, the federal government is providing a 30 percent tax credit to anyone who installs solar panels. Solar panel owners can also participate in the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) market, in which companies like Duke Energy will buy excess energy through an auction system.