It's an investment that could save money in the long run -- solar power.  There's a new company in town that sells solar power systems to local businesses and homeowners.

As Dan Hofmann of RegenEn Solar explains, "Solar energy is a viable energy source.  It's not an environmentalist's dream, it's not hocus-pocus, its a real source of energy."

It may be 93 million miles away, but the sun provides an infinite amount of energy.  Now, with conventional energy prices increasing and concerns about man-made pollution, consumers seem more willing to look at solar energy as an alternative.

Hoffman says, "The energy we use in Louisville, 90% of the electricity we use is powered by coal.  That's a dirty source of energy and a solar panel system is a source of energy that once it pays for itself, you have free energy essentially for a lifetime."

Dan Hofman has just opened the new company that sells solar panel systems.  He says installing solar power is cheaper than most people think:  "If you have a smaller home, then your killowatt usage is going to be less.  So it could be $10,000 after tax credits.  If you have a larger home, it could be $20-$25,000 after tax credits."

Gill Holland is about to have Hofman's company RegenEn Solar install such a system at his Highlands home after he purchased a similiar system for his business from an out-of-town dealer.  "So even the solar panels now are about 30% less expensive than than they were when we bought them a year ago," Holland says.

And he says many days his solar powered system provides all the energy his workplace needs:  "On a year-to-year basis including the winter months and everything else, we're still 68% energy self-sufficient."

The federal government provides a 30% tax credit for the purchase of a solar system.  Many states add to that with their own credit, but in Kentucky residents are only eligible for a $500 rebate.

Still, Hofmann is getting a lot of calls.  "There's a lot of interest, people are surprised we're here, they're unfamiliar with the product, there's a lot of education involved."

Hofman is offering a 15% discount on solar panel systems in addition to the 30% federal tax credit.

There's more information about solar power at the News Link above.