For years, we’ve been hearing about how we can embrace alternative energy to save the planet and get away from coal-fired electricity and oil-guzzling internal combustion engines. Among those ideas was the concept of putting solar panels on the roof and get our house off the utility-provided electrical grid.

Now Lowe’s, the home improvement store, is selling those solar panels and encouraging customers to buy and install them. But, as AP energy writer Chris Kahn explained to me today, buying them may be easy, but installing them isn’t.

On the other hand, even with the expense of hiring someone to climb up on your roof and wire them into your circuit breakers, they could provide quite a savings if you think long-term. And don’t mind staying on the grid at night.

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