According to the Department of Energy, electricity for heating and cooling cost the average family $1,500 per year.  That cost is expected to climb to  $1,640 during the next five years fueling families to consider "zero-energy homes", a highly energy -efficient design meant to produce as much electricity as it uses.  The Federal Energy Policy Act provides a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the system's cost (to a maximum of $2,000) when purchasing a new home with solar equipment. The credit is part of a nationwide initiative to reduce home energy consumption 70 percent by year 2020