My company has been designing and installing alternative energy systems since 1975; to date, we've installed more than 1,000 solar water heating systems. Lately, as energy prices rise at an ever-accelerating rate, we've seen renewed interest in solar hot water.

A simple solar hot-water system can be installed for as little as $4,000, while a larger and more complicated freeze-protected system can cost as much as $10,000. Thanks to the recently signed energy bill, the customer's cost is about to fall; the bill grants a 30 percent federal tax credit to property owners who install solar energy systems in...

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