While the federal government may not be doing much to make renewable energy more attractive to the average citizen, many states have initiated their own programs to help offset the costs of installing solar energy panels, purchasing a gas-electric hybrid vehicle, or erecting a wind turbine. These incentives sometimes come in the form of state tax credits or as rebates. California alone provided $2.6 million in tax credits in 2001 to residents who installed solar power systems. As an example of the potential savings, a solar project tagged at $24,000 is eligible for a rebate of $10,730--representing close to a 50 percent reduction in costs.
How does your state rate? If you're wondering what incentives are available to you, consult the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) for an easy-to-use, up-to-date list of programs.