Residents across the state open their homes to shed some light on the idea of solar energy.
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association invited people to tour homes and businesses across the state powered by alternative energy.
Dozens of homeowners in Madison showed tour groups how they make solar energy work for them. They say the upfront costs can be daunting, but for many the concern is environmental and not financial. Interest in solar energy has been growing in Wisconsin for years, and organizers hope saturday's tours clear up some questions people might have.
"I guess I would hope that people who were on the fence and considering solar power would be, feel that more decisive and able to move forward with their plans," said Carol Gruba, office manager of Full Spectrum Solar, who helped organize one of Saturday's tour groups.
One advantage of using solar energy is you can sell excess power back to some electric companies. Unfortunately, because of installation costs, it can take up to thirty years to see a return on the investment.
The federal government has programs that compensate people for some of those startup costs. In fact, the economic bailout package congress approved this week, contained earmarks extending some of those programs.