With the price of panels and installation falling and an extension of the federal tax credit, now is a good time to consider solar
Under a bright June sky in 1979, at the height of the nation’s energy crisis, President Jimmy Carter stood on the roof of the White House to dedicate solar panels installed there to heat water for the staff kitchen. That powerful gesture, which gave America a taste of its clean-energy future, was as symbolic as it was historic: At the time, converting a typical American house to solar power was extremely rare and cost roughly half as much as the house itself.
A lot has changed in the intervening 37 years: Solar costs have dropped so much that today it’s possible to generate all or most of a home’s electricity—for decades to come—for about the purchase price of a new economy car. Solar installations have increased dramatically. And President Obama has installed new panels on the White House roof.