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    Solar energy has been around for decades, but installing elaborate systems in residential areas was out of reach for most homeowners for most of this period. Now, however, residents are finding more and more that by installing solar panels, they can lower carbon emissions and even pay less for electricity.

    According to Forbes, when it comes to installing a solar energy system, there are a few factors residents should take into account. The first, of course, is to ensure a home gets an adequate amount of sunlight to make the investment worthwhile. There are a number of online tools and resources that can help people determine if solar energy is right for them.

    Once this is determined, it is important to compare energy prices to determine the best electricity rate for solar power. Often, the more people pay before switching to solar, the more they save once the conversion is done.

    The media outlet concluded that many states have incentive programs that can help with the cost of installation and maintenance, and all of these programs should be researched thoroughly.

    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, California and New Jersey currently lead the country in new solar installations.