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Homeowners Use the Sun and Incentives to Save on Winter Heating Costs
by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX) Feb 23, 2012

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Fluctuating energy costs can make it difficult for homeowners to budget their heating bills during the cold winter months. That is why many are looking into alternative sources of energy for water heating.

One source that is gaining popularity is solar thermal energy, a system that uses energy from the sun to heat a water "tank" that then distributes the warmed water throughout the home. A solar thermal energy system can save money over the long run, and there are government programs that can help reduce installation costs in the short run.

"Solar thermal utilizes the sun's energy to create heat, so the operating price remains steady over time compared to conventional heat sources," said Nigel Cotton, Solar Water Heating Global Leader of the International Copper Association (ICA) and founder of Solarthermalworld.org, a web portal for solar thermal professionals.

Cotton went on to explain that most solar thermal hot water heating systems in the home reduce dependence on conventional energy sources over the long-run, but there is an upfront installation cost which needs to be recognized.

That is why it pays to learn about the variety of governmental programs that homebuyers can take advantage of to reduce the cost of installation.

The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) currently offers those installing a solar thermal system a 30% tax credit on the cost of their system. Locally, one common incentive is the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which allows municipalities to finance installations through property taxes.

"Installing a solar thermal system is attractive to many people because it utilizes a renewable natural resource-the sun- to provide warmth," concluded Barbel Epp, Solarthermalworld.org newsletter editor. "Assuming that energy prices continue to rise, solar heating systems create a lasting financial benefit for families."

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