Anchor Intro: With electricity costs going through the roof, maybe you've considered going entirely solar -- a bright idea, but one that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. But you don't have to be rich to harness the sun. Bankrate.com has five ideas for solar on a shoestring.
Voice over 1: One day the sun may be providing 100 percent of your power needs. But that day probably won't be soon, for a very simple reason.
SOT (Paul Farren): "Well, your average house will cost between $20,000 and $50,000 to supply a portion of the electricity. That's before rebates."
Voice over 2: Way too much for the average budget. Fortunately, there are other, much less expensive ways to harness the sun. Example? Solar water heating.
SOT: "Your hot water bill is about 30 percent of your electric bill, so if you go to a solar domestic hot water system, it'll cost you less than $5,000 and it'll give you free hot water forever."
Voice over 3: That's one idea. Another is tubular skylights -- basically, light tunnels that take sunlight from your roof to a dark area of your house. Average cost? $150 to $600.
Voice over 4: Keeping your attic cool can reduce your A/C costs, and a solar-powered attic fan can do it. Average cost? $300 to $700 each.
Voice over 5: Give your cell-phone, laptop or other small electronics a charge with a solar charger, especially handy for outdoors people. Cost? Anywhere from $20 to $200.
Voice over 6: Last and least expensive, solar outdoor lights. They're not only cheap-- as little as 10 bucks a piece -- but they also allow you to add outdoor lighting without digging up your yard for wiring.
Standup: So one day solar may be affordable for all your electricity needs, but there's no reason you can't use the sun right now to save a little money and reduce your carbon footprint. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.