There are not shortages of stories about the risks of global warming in the media. Today, even if you don't believe in the imminent collapse of the world's ecosystems, there is a fair chance you agree that common sense says that if we can reduce our energy usage this is probably a good thing.
The second thing that pretty much everyone will agree on is that electricity bills are expensive and getting bigger all the time. If you can make your own electricity this would obviously be a good thing and be a way of bringing down the bills.
Most people are not in the position to put up a windmill to generate electricity from wind or capture water power, but if you have a house, you have a roof which you might be able to put solar panels on. Roof – check, free energy – check, sound great! So, what's the catch? It's very simple, purchasing and installing solar panels is expensive and working out the return is complicated. In some states, there are specific incentives to help people who want to install solar energy (like the SunShot and Solar America initiatives), so it is becoming easier to make the decision.
Here is a a list of solar panel installers. Many installers will be able to give you information on their products which will help you calculate your return-on-investment.
You do need to consider whether your home is appropriate for solar panels (type of roof, alignment), in addition to taking into account the average number of hours of sun per year where you live; solar panels are more common in California than Alaska for obvious reasons! In addition, you need to take into account that if you move home within a few years you may lose money as the cost of installation is not likely to bump your home's value up by the same amount.
This is an investment which could save you some money in the long run and one which should make you feel a little less guilty when you book you flights for your next holiday...