The Pot of Gold at the End of the Sun Beam

solarroofchi.jpgWanna go green and get rich at the same time? State and Federal Incentives make solar infrastructure among the most lucrative and risk free investments that can be made. Take the following example:
Here in my home town of Chicago, I am one of three owners living in a residential three flat building. Our monthly natural gas bill associated with hot water averages $170 per month. This totals in excess of $2000 annually. Keep in mind that, in less than a year, natural gas prices have more than doubled.
The total cost of purchasing and installing a system that would best address our building’s hot water needs is approximately $11000. In Illinois, our clean energy rebate program will pay half of the first $10K spent on solar water heat, solar space seat, and photovoltaics. After that, 25% of costs are reimbursed for the next $20K. Given these rebates, this system will cost our condo association an estimated $5750.

Upon installation, approximately 70% of our hot water needs will be supplied by solar thermal technology. At the very least, this system will pay for itself in less than four and a half years if natural gas prices remain stable. Yet the time it takes to pay for itself will likely be less for the following reasons:
(1) Natural gas prices will likely continue to escalate.
(2) Our condo association may receive an additional $2000 rebate from the federal government.
From everything I can tell, this technology affords the best ROI money can buy, not to mention an increased sense of energy security and self reliance while decreasing greenhouse emissions.
For a complete database of state and federal renewable energy incentives, click here.