Step 1

Energy-Saving Tax Credits 01:02

Here are the DIY Basics for Energy-Saving Tax Credits.

Watch an Overview Video

Step 2

Solar Water Heater

Most common solar water heater is roof-mounted, flat-plate collector, which pumps sun-heated water to storage tank.

Flat-plate collectors are typically installed facing south on a rooftop.

You can install battery backup to heat water during cloudy weather.

Step 3

Solar Panels

Heat home with solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Solar panels are long, flat units of solar cells and are made of semiconducting materials; when cells absorb sunlight, solar energy knocks electrons loose from atoms, producing electricity.

Solar cells are typically combined into modules that hold about 40 cells; they are generally mounted on roofs facing south or on tracking devices that follow the sun.

Step 4

Install Wind Turbines

Harness wind power with wind turbines.

Blades act much like airplane wings creating low-pressure, which pulls blade causing rotor to turn; this spins shaft to generator which produces electricity.

Step 5

Fuel Cells

Install fuel cells to produce electricity.

Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water; they're like batteries that never lose their charge as long as they have access to fuel.

Most common fuel cell fuel is hydrogen but they can run on methanol.

Step 6

Geothermal Heat Pump

Use geothermal heat pump to tap into heat in hot water and rock beneath earth's surface.

Upper 10 feet of Earth's surface maintains constant temperature between 50 and 60 degrees F; geothermal heat pump with air delivery system pulls this temperature from earth and uses it to heat and cool home.

Heat removed from indoor air during summer can be used as free source of hot water.

Step 7

Do Your Research

Research tax credit websites; credit amounts differ from system to system and excess credit can generally be carried forward to next tax year.

Tax savings can apply retroactively to systems already in place and are good through 2016.