Solar panel giveaways make the technology affordable for anyone

Although solar panel costs have dropped dramatically in recent months, the technology is still not affordable for everyone who would like it. Residents in New York and Texas with a yearning for solar can enter the Green Mountain Energy Company's solar sweepstakes.

Winners of the contest will receive a $15,000 solar array home installation. Depending on the structure, however, some homes are not suitable for a solar installation. If this is the case for the chosen winner, he or she will receive free electricity, produced from solar energy, for three years. Green Mountain Energy contestants do not need to make any purchase from the company prior to their entry.

HGTV has been giving away a "Green Home" annually for several years, as well. The channel's 2012 home giveaway is located near Atlanta in the eco-conscious community of Serenbe. The home includes many environmentally friendly additions, including several solar panels and rugs created from recycled materials.

"We want our viewers to discover how they can live harmoniously with nature but still have a connection to contemporary architecture and the latest in eco-friendly products and practices," said HGTV's general manager, Kathleen Finch. "It's amazing to find a home in a community as forward thinking and beautiful as Serenbe just minutes away from one of the most fabulous cities in the U.S."