Energy Costs, Tax Breaks Energize Solar Market

By: Joseph Sanchez

As energy prices continue to rise at an alarming pace, consumers are turning their attention to alternative forms of energy to power their homes. A front-runner in the alternative energy market is solar power, which is gaining popularity thanks in most part to the energy crisis gripping the country. Solar power is finding its way into homes across America tasked with reducing the costs for everyday things such as heating our homes and water.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), heating your home accounts for about 56 percent of your utility bill making it the largest expense for most homes. Water heating is the third largest energy expense and can account for about 14-25 percent of the utility bill.

A recent addition to the Metropolitan Industries product line are solar powered systems manufactured by Viessmann for domestic hot water, radiant floor heating and air conditioning systems for residential and commercial applications.

The advantages of using solar power for domestic hot water, radiant flooring and air conditioning are significant given the cost of energy, its continued rise and its limited supply. The DOE says a solar system can provide up to 80 percent of the heating needs required for a home or business at zero cost to the consumer after initial equipment and installation costs. Given solar energy is free, a system will pay back the purchaser in just under a couple years in energy savings and will continue to pay dividends in energy savings and consumption for years to come.

Other benefits include tax incentives from Federal and State governments in forms of rebates, grants and exemptions that help offset installation and equipment costs making the technology feasible for many businesses and families.

For example, the State of Illinois offers a property tax exemption for passive solar space heat, solar water heat and solar space heat for residential, commercial and industrial properties according to website, a database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. A residential solar tax credit is offered by the Federal Government that that offers a maximum incentive of $2000 for a solar water heating system installation. An incentive offered by the United States Department of Agriculture is in the form of a grant upwards to 25 percent of project costs. For renewable energy systems, the minimum grant is $2,500 and the maximum is $500,000. For energy efficiency improvements, the minimum grant is $1,500 and the maximum is $250,000.
With solar power gaining popularity in the U.S., Viessmann Manufacturing Company of Germany is ready for the increased demand based on the more than 2 million solar collector installations over the last 30 years installed in just Germany alone.
Viessmann solar hot water heating systems, marketed as the Vitosol, collect and absorb solar radiation through either solar vacuum tubes (Vitosol 300) or solar panels (Vitosol 200) and transfers the solar heat directly to a storage system, from which the heat is distributed.
Viessmann solar collectors are specifically designed for northern climates and can produce as much as 70 percent of the annual hot water requirements of an average family household. The average lifespan of any Viessmann solar product is 20 years or more.
The Viessmann product line is only available in Illinois at Metropolitan Industries, Inc. located in Romeoville. For more information, contact Mark Brickey at 815-886-9200.

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