I first learned about solar power while living on our boat.
It is clean, emits no noise, and was the preferred way to produce power off shore.
Running the engine and the wind generator supplemented solar power on our boat.
The main disadvantage to the engine and wind gen was the noise and moving parts...not an issue with solar power.
With the size on panels today, I had 75 watt panels...now they go up to 215 watts...I would have had no need for a windgenerator...and its noise.
Solar power for your home...makes more sense when the sun shines...not an earthshaking fact. If you are living in Arizona, Colorado or other areas with lots of sunshine you are obviously going to be able to make more electricty.
I live in Arizona and the remainder of the comments will be based upon an Arizona system.
It can save you money, now and for years to come...for example:
Folks, also be aware that rebate plans and tax credits are a moving target and these estimates are just that...estimates. Even the best tax software cannot take the place of the advice of a good tax accountant.
There is no one size fits all..variables such a electricty usage, electricity rates, sun angle, roof space, cloud cover, trees...make giving hard estimates dificult.
The way to get a better estimate is to ask for a free survey and proposal unique to your property. You give the solar company an idea of what electricity you used in the past , say two years by month, they will do the rest.
Folks, also be aware that rebate plans and tax credits are a moving target and these estimates are just that...estimates.
Example A...a 1500 square foot home, with a 3.5 KW (20..175 watt panels) system will cost: $18,700-less 50% utility company rebate of $9,350...Uncle Sam gives a tax credit of $5,600...the state of AZ kicks in a tax credit of $1,000... this brings the bottom line to $2,750 for a system that is estimated to provide 95% of this homes electricity.
Example B a larger 2200 square foot home with a pool needs a 5.1 KW system (24..215 watt panels) will cost: $28,600...less a 50% utility company rebate of $14,300...the IRS kicks in $8,500 tax credit...Arizona a $1,000 tax credit... Bottom line...$4,800 cost for a system that will produce 43% of this house anticipated electricity needs.
These are just estimates...get a free one from your solar installer in your area...get a couple at least...you also have lease options and financing plans you can choose.
The panels on your roof collect the sunlight and turn it into DC current...then to the inverter (usually mounted in your garage) where DC is converted into AC (household) current...then to the bi directional meter (outside tied into your utility meter)... this tells you if you are selling or buying power...and then to your regular utility meter.
You are spending money up front to save for the future. Pay backs can range from 5 years to 15 years. Start with a free solar survey that is unique to your property and power usage.