8 of 10
BACKNEXT
High-tech green
Advanced technology in renewable energy takes home improvement to another level. These systems often don't pay for themselves quickly. To create incentives for interested homeowners, the federal government is sweetening the deal. The tax credit will cover 30 percent of the cost, including installation, with no upper limit. In most cases, the window for the tax credit has been extended to 2016.

Eligible systems include solar water heaters, solar panels, geothermal heat pumps, and wind energy systems. Tom Silva's seizing the opportunity and putting in solar panels and a solar water heater this year. He said the tax credit is an offer his family couldn't refuse.

"My wife read about it and said, 'We've been talking about doing [solar upgrades] long enough. Let's just do it.' People worry about the money you have to put out up front, but you're getting big-ticket items like solar panels for a third less and you will save money on your energy bill forever," Silva says--not to mention the boost it gives to the value of the house.

NEXT: First, get an energy audit

Last updated May 07 2009: 12:57 PM ET
More Galleries
Want to buy -- and live in -- a piece of history? It's not that far out of reach. These historic homes are not only for sale, they are incredible bargains. More
5 ways retailers are tracking you If you think pesky salespeople are invading your personal space, check out these 5 technologies that are tracking your movements throughout a store. More
Moto X vs. Droid Turbo: Which Droid should you buy? Motorola has made the two best Android smartphones this year. Here's how they stack up. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.