By John F. Wasik
Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- As the U.S. property market and summer both cool
down, turning your house into a power producer can make sense. If you
want to ``go solar'' with your home and boost its market value, New
Jersey is a good place to start.
Although it won't usurp the title of sunshine state from Florida any
time soon, New Jersey has generous benefits for homeowners installing
solar equipment. Yet you don't have to live in Bruce Springsteen's home
state to reap these breaks; similar programs are offered across the
U.S., Europe and Australia.
Eric Olsen, a systems architect for United Parcel Service Inc., installed
solar panels to generate electricity on his 3,500-square-foot home in
Totowa, New Jersey. In the summer, the 48 panels generate 8.5 kilowatts,
enough to pay all of his energy bills.
While the retail price of the panels was $62,500, his net cost was reduced
significantly by state incentives. As his energy bills rose, the payback
period for his investment has shortened.
``If the economics didn't work out, I wouldn't have done it,'' Olsen
said. ``About 70 percent of the equipment and installation cost was
paid for by New Jersey. It's the hottest state for solar power.''
The total cost of Olsen's system was offset by a number of financial
plums that make a pricey product more affordable.