When the space and resources are available, your best bet for maximum solar energy gathering is a panel system with sun tracking. This type of system tracks the sun's movement across the entire day, and even the entire year. This may cost you a little more at first, but the results in the end are worth it.
Carefully consider the types of solar panels you plan on having installed. Long ago, if you didn't have enough roof space, you'd need very expensive high efficiency mono-crystalline panels. There are now more advanced polycrystalline panels and even thin film panels. If you've got enough roof space, you might wish to look at the size of the panels in relation to their output capacity to avoid having insufficient panels that you need more of later.
Consider your home's outside design when thinking about solar energy. Having solar-powered pathway lights installed outside is an easy way to use solar energy at home. If you're building a home, positioning it so that it can take advantage of the sun's rays is also beneficial. Well-oriented homes filter in winter sun rays in the south-facing windows and that can reduce heating bills.
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Talk to your local government about doing any major solar installations in your home or business. You want to be properly permitted and within building, zoning and construction codes and regulations. However, you may also discover tax credits, rebates and other financial incentives. They may also have data and information about how well certain solar technologies work in your area.