Recently, consumer-level solar energy for the home has been gaining more steam. In Austin, folks are moving beyond public solar art and are harnessing the sun's energy for their homes. If you're hoping to go solar, follow their lead...
Using federal grants and getting the community involved are the two biggest ways that solar is powering up in Austin. Incentives to install solar panels on homes are there if you look, and that's the trick. There's an upside to offering your home up as an experiment: you may be a guinea pig for working out the kinks of community-wide solar use, but you're issuing in the renewable energy era.
According to one Austin resident interviewed in this Statesman article, at today's costs, installing a solar array on your own roof will pay for itself in seven short years, but only because of subsidies from the government (local and federal) that will pay 80 percent of the cost.
To get the best deal on panels, Austin homeowners at the Mueller development are going in together on the panels to get a better price. Which means that the most effective way to harness solar power for your own home is to get involved with your neighborhood and encourage others to do the same.