Use of alternative energy on the rise in central Ohio

Ecohouse Solar

COLUMBUS, Ohio (10TV) -- A central Ohio company is showing how solar panels can cut down on power costs for homeowners.

Ecohouse Solar, located in northwest Columbus, says solar power is a relatively simple concept to execute, and the best part is you own it.

"When you're buying electricity from a utility (company), you're like a renter," Ecohouse Solar president Kevin Eigel said. "You just pay, pay, pay, pay right? Forever. With this, you have the source of electricity right here on your site. Eventually, you're going to take care of it, pay it off, and then, you don't have any more electric bills, basically."

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The initial cost of installing a solar panel system averages between $15,000 and $20,000, but low-interest government loans are available, along with a 30 percent federal tax credit.

"That is good through the end of this year at 30 percent, then it drops down for the next couple of years," Eigel said. "So that's been a major reason for people to do solar because there's a major tax credit."

Eigel says the average system will pay for itself within nine years and it provides an environmentally-friendly, sustainable source of electricity.

According to Eigel, aside from the panels, you also need a DC to AC converter to allow the electricity to flow through your home.

"Solar panels produce DC electricity, direct current, and your home is using AC, alternating current," Eigel said.

Eigel says battery backup systems are also available and are eligible for the 30 percent tax credit.

He also says manufacturers are looking at ways to use the battery in your electric car as a backup to your home's electricity.