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Earth Day: Future Of Solar Energy Looking Brighter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A growing number of homeowners are installing sun-powered panels and experts believe the industry will keep rising.

Peter Samsel, who had solar panels installed on his roof, said helping the environment was his top priority.

"I want it to be a proven technology. And now it is," he said.

It cost him about $21,000 after tax credits and rebates, but he expects to save about $3,000 a year in energy.

"It should pay me back within about seven or eight years so that I break even at that point and then start saving," he said.

Just up the road, John Pariseau installed solar two years ago. He occasionally needs electricity from the grid, but most months the panels power his house. He even receives a paid credit when they produce extra energy.

With more affordable prices and government tax credits, installations are on the rise. The Solar Energy Industries Association says four percent of U.S. homes currently have panels, but that number is projected to more than triple by 2030.

Homeowners in warm, sunny states like California are more likely to install the technology. But it's now being adopted in colder parts of the country.

John Lassen decided to have a "Tesla" roof put on his new home in Wisconsin. The strong tempered glass tiles work like solar.

"It's roughly, in this area, about three times the cost of a really nice shingle roof," Lassen said.

The power created recharges a battery that distributes electricity to the house. The system is significantly more expensive than traditional solar, but Lassen said having the look is worth it.

Current federal tax credits for solar end in 2024, but the industry is pushing Congress to extend it.

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