You may have no doubt seen advertisements in regards to reducing your energy costs through the installation of solar (photo-voltaic) cell systems. So...is the hype worthy of a serious look?
In short, yes. If in fact your house (or other potential solar installation site) is suitable, the advantages of solar are indeed real... very real. In short, the upsides are
(1) Lower cost per kwH than what you are being charged by BGE (save $$$),
(2) Advantagous state and Federal incentive programs (save additional $$$), and
(3) The potential benefits of selling what are known as SRECs (State Renewable Energy Credits) - credits the power companies are required to purchase to offset their fossil-fuel energy creation. Short description - getting paid to produce clean energy.
Of course there are numerous factors that will effect the ultimate viability of a project, but in general - in Maryland - given a favorable installation site you WILL save money if you are paying current residential BGE or PEPCO rates.
Now there are several ways (at least five) to finance the upfront costs, from "No-Money Down" packages to buying the system with cash. Each alternative has its own advantages and drawbacks. But if in the end you want to save money, you owe it to your bottom line to take a look.