Installing rooftop solar panels or a small wind turbine to reduce (or even eliminate) your electric bill is easier than you think.

Solar panels are becoming more affordable and easier to install than in the past. An easy way to get your feet wet in solar is to purchase a solar hot water heater. Solar panels and solar powered appliances are eligible for a tax credit from the federal government. For more information on the Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency, go to http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index. State resources: http://www.odod.state.oh.us/cdd/oee/GrantsLoans.htm.

Solar power in a nutshell Photovoltaic solar cells, which directly convert sunlight into electricity, are made of semiconducting materials. The simplest cells power watches and calculators and the like, while more complex systems can light houses and provide power to the electric grid. Solar hot water heaters use the sun to heat either water or a heat-transfer fluid in collectors. A typical system will reduce the need for conventional water heating by about two-thirds.

Learn more about solar hot water: Introduction to Solar Hot Water Saturday, April 10 from 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Columbus State Community College This one-day course is designed for anyone new to the solar energy industry that has an interest to learn the basics and passion to explore opportunities in the emerging green energy economy.

For more information on solar and other green power options in Ohio, visit Green Energy Ohio at http://www.greenenergyohio.org/page.cfm?pageId=3