Skyrocketing energy prices and concerns about global warming prompted the owner of Middlebury Animal Hospital in Middlebury, Conn., to invest in solar energy. The 11.5-kilowatt solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it directly into an electrical current. The system will produce up to 40 percent of the hospital's total yearly electrical needs—with zero greenhouse gas emissions. "I felt strongly that we should do our part to transition to cleaner sources of power," says Dr. Koen Loeven, the hospital's owner.
Going green: Solar panels are mounted on the roof of Middlebury Animal Hospital in Middlebury, Conn.
Interested in going solar but worried about the cost? Dr. Loeven's project—including licensing and inspection fees, hardware, panels, meters, breakers, and installation—was just shy of $96,000. Check with your state government about incentives and tax breaks. In Dr. Loeven's case, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund covered half of his costs. He also received state sales and property tax exemptions. The federal government helped out, too, with a business energy tax credit of about $13,000 and accelerated depreciation deductions. Dr. Loeven says that without these incentives, the project would've been too costly.