If the thought of rising energy bills has you rushing out to buy insulation, hold off until after Jan. 1, 2006, when the recently enacted Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 kicks in.
The act includes incentives to make your home more energy efficient and give solar a try. They come in the form of tax credits, reducing federal tax bills dollar for dollar. Unlike many federal programs, they are not phased out for higher incomes.
The most generous credits are available for those who add solar water, heat or power to their homes. It wasn't very long ago that installing virtually any kind of solar device was a labor of love without much economic value. But with the federal incentives -- combined in many places with utility and state incentives -- solar is looking like a much better deal.