By leveraging federal grants and tax credits, New York resident saves 90 percent on solar panel installation

Making energy-efficient upgrades to your home can feel like a daunting project. There's a lot to consider, and at first glance it can seem like a huge investment. More and more people are finding, however, that adopting a sustainable lifestyle is actually more cost-effective in the long-run than continuing to pay exorbitant amounts of money on utility bills.

According to DailyFinance, Flushing, New York, resident Gerald Singleton was able to drastically reduce his bills by making eco-friendly upgrades to his home. Singleton told the source that his heating bill was reaching $600 a month, since he had to run a space heater all day and night to keep his 101-year-old mother warm during the winter.

Singleton hired a home inspection contractor to perform an energy audit and help him determine where he was losing heat and actions he could take to make his house more energy-efficient. He made some simple changes, such as purchasing insulating blankets for his water heater and switching to LED lights in kitchen, but Singleton didn't stop there.

After doing his research, the homeowner decided to install solar panels, too. Though it's traditionally a very expensive project, Singleton was able to cut the costs by a whopping 90 percent thanks to federal grants and tax credits. When all was said and done, he spent $1,600 on a $16,000 installation.

"All of these energy savings [are] like a form of a pension plan that provides a comfort to me that I know that I will be able to have lights on well into my retirement years, and I won't have to pay for it because I'm getting the energy from the sun," Singleton told the source.

Maryland residents hoping to follow in Singleton's footsteps will be happy to hear that there are many rebates and incentives to take advantage of, including those available from Pepco and Potomac Edison. To get started, schedule an energy audit with a home inspection contractor, and they'll help you determine the most effective ways that you can improve your property.