During a summer of heat domes and high temperatures, it’s easy to let the sun just get on your nerves. But year-round, the sun can benefit you by pumping energy into your house courtesy of solar panels.
A solar-energy array will be one of the costliest projects you can add to your home. However, it has gotten less expensive in recent years, thanks to systems getting more efficient and effective.
On average, a new solar system costs about $25,000, with most falling between $17,000 and $32,000. But it also adds value to your home, makes you more energy-independent and lowers the need for fossil fuels.
However, solar power isn’t just a good idea for the environment — it’s also good news for your utility bills. Experts estimate that you can expect to save about $20,000 over the lifetime of the average solar system, and it could be much higher. The exact amount you save depends on your region, how much sun you get and the cost of energy where you live.
In many cases, your energy system can be tied into the local grid. “Net metering” means that any energy you generate beyond what you need for your home is delivered into the system, and you receive an energy credit on your bill. During these periods, your power meter might literally run backward. This is particularly helpful to very hot and sunny areas. When heat is way up and air conditioners are running high, it eases the load on the grid to have some houses delivering energy back.
Take great care when hiring your solar-energy contractor. This job requires balancing many factors, including your home’s energy needs, the placement of the panels, how much sunlight hits your region and your local grid.
Solar panels are extremely durable.
In most cases, they carry a 25-year warranty. Various types of panels have their own benefits and drawbacks. Your solar pro will be able to explain the different options available to you.
In addition to lowering energy bills, solar power can make a serious dent in your taxes.
The federal government offers a generous Investment Tax Credit to homeowners who install residential solar.
You can deduct 26% of the cost of a home solar system from your taxes, provided the unit was installed in 2021 or 2022.
The deduction drops to 22% in 2023 and expire in 2024.
Many states, localities and even utility companies offer benefits or incentives to install solar. Ask your solar pro what benefits are available in your area.
Decor on a dime: Ideas for your home, all under $100
Mirrors as a headboard
Whether you are using mirrors horizontally to widen a space, vertically to add height or in a grid pattern to mimic windows, this is a great way to bounce light and color in a space.
Wallpaper remains a hot trend. Not sure you want to take the plunge? Try using a removable or temporary wallpaper.
Incorporate industrial elements
Industrial pipe can be used for everything from ladder rungs to help hold up shelves.
Curtains made from drop cloths
Who doesn’t love no-sew curtains? Drop cloths are the perfect weight of cotton for a curtain, especially for those looking for privacy. Grab some drapery pins and attach them to a rod, add grommets, and you’re good to go.
Repurposed items as shelves
From recycled wood to skateboards in a child’s room or family space, it’s time to get creative.
Succulents in sand
Tiny succulents are hearty enough to be around for weeks, if not months. Pair them with plain white sand in a glass jar or vessel and you have a beautiful accent piece for your home.
Affordable side tables and carts
Bar carts or side tables don’t have to be traditional. Garden stools and carts can be used as side tables and decorative accents.
Rice paper or other items placed in shadow boxes or plexiglass
Rice paper is both modern and neutral. One creative idea is to place large pieces in frames.
Wine glasses as candle holders
This is my new “it” idea. Just take wine glasses, flip them over and place a small votive on the bottom, which now serves as the base for your candle. Put something decorative under the mouth of the glass for an even more creative look
Removable wall stickers
These are so much fun and can add instant color and graphics to a space.