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NREL Helps Consumers Tap Into Solar Energy

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Golden, Colo., March 26, 1999 — Two new publications by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) make it easier for people to purchase solar energy systems and tap into energy from the sun. The Colorado Consumer's Guide to Buying a Solar Electric System provides basic information about the who, what and why of financing, purchasing and installing photovoltaic (solar electric) systems in Colorado. It also includes information about financial incentives such as the Solar Rebate Program, tax credits for businesses and net metering. Net metering means that extra electricity produced by a photovoltaic system is sold back to the utility at the same rate as power is purchased from the utility. "People need easy to follow guidelines for purchasing and installing solar energy systems, and this new booklet answers that need," said NREL engineer John Thornton, who helped write the booklet.

The Borrower's Guide to Financing Solar Energy Systems provides information for lenders and consumers about nationwide financing programs for photovoltaic systems and solar thermal systems, which heat indoor air and water. In addition to traditional sources for home mortgage funds, several government organizations offer programs for financing solar energy systems and energy efficiency improvements.

The guide's glossary includes information about energy saving performance contracts through which energy service companies absorb the cost of more efficient energy systems in exchange for a share of the savings. It also describes energy efficient mortgages, which give special consideration to borrowers who purchase or refinance homes that are or will be energy efficient.

Contact NREL's Document Distribution Service at 303-275-4363 or sally_evans@nrel.gov for free copies of the document.

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