From Sunlight To Cash: Solar Incentives Pay Up - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

From Sunlight To Cash: Solar Incentives Pay Up

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WEST RICHLAND, WA - Whether you are looking to save money over time or you are just out to help protect the environment, using solar power to run electricity through your house has its benefits and it can actually pay off.

Those sun rays beaming down on us can do a lot more than give you a tan. In the state of Washington, if you hop on the solar powered train right now it could put some cash in your pocket. Two neighboring families in West Richland opened up their newly solar powered homes to the public.

"They're lowering their electric bill plus getting a performance incentive from the utility. About 54 cents a kilowatt," said Jonathan Lewis from the Solar Division of Hire Electric Inc.

With Washington state made solar products a state incentive on average can bag a homeowner up to $5,000 a year. Within 4-5 years the panels will be paying for themselves.

"In the mean time it'll probably cover somewhere around 60% of our power bill," said Lee Penick who just had his panels installed. He thinks of them as an investment, one that leaves him with a clean environmental conscience.

"We're sold. We like it. It definitely seems like the right thing to do and we appreciate the state legislature and the state incentives very much," explained Penick.

While the incentive looks like a solid investment, Lewis says you have to get in on it now to make the money. The incentive only pays out until 2020.