Americana: Solar Catch 22

A Long Island homeowner heeded his President's plea to save energy—and discovered he would be taxed for his patriotic gesture. After watching his annual fuel bill soar to $700, William Nagy estimated he could save $250 using solar energy to heat his water.

Though he knew it would take eight years to break even on the $1,600 investment, Nagy decided to take the plunge, and he signed a contract for the unit the day after President Carter's energy speech. Then he learned his home improvement would add another $90 to his property tax bill. "I canceled the contract but I am not...

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