More than half a million U.S. homes and businesses have gone solar. Lower installation costs and growing government incentives have made it easier and cheaper to harness energy from the sun.

Topaz, the world’s largest solar farm stretching 15 square kilometers, could supply power to 160,000 homes in California alone. But in the U.S., more and more home builders have started incorporating solar panels into their construction, which is cheaper than installing them afterward. Home owners typically can recoup the cost of the system within five to 10 years.

Not only do people recoup the cost of solar-energy systems through lower energy bills, they get a 30-cent tax credit for every $1 spent on a solar panel system through a federal government subsidy. Some states also provide a rebate to cover the costs of installation.

Some building companies offer home owners the chance to lease solar equipment — an economical option in the short term.

It’s no wonder that through the first half of 2014, a new solar project was installed in the U.S. every 3.2 minutes.