HOUSTON — The solar power industry is booming.

There were 1,500 solar installations in Houston last year, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center.

The big selling point for going solar is you can help save the environment while saving money, but how much money does it actually save?

According to the Department of Energy, it depends on several factors: how much you spend on electricity, the amount of sun your house gets, government policies, incentives in your area and upfront costs.

Installation costs have gone down every year for the last decade, but it is still a big barrier for a lot of people.

According to EnergySage, a website funded by the Energy Department’s SunShot program, the average cost of installing solar panels in Harris County is over $14,250. That doesn’t factor in a 30 percent federal tax credit or state incentives.

EnergySage says the benefit is Harris County residents who use solar energy can save over $20,108 over the course of 20 years.

Solar energy systems have also been found to increase home values and those homes tend to sell faster, according to a government funded study.

There are two online calculators that can help estimate costs and savings of using solar power for your home:

EnergySage: https://www.energysage.com/solar/calculator-results/

Google Project Sunroof: https://www.google.com/get/sunroof#p=0

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