Get your financial figures right before deciding on a solar system. You need to weigh the cost of the system against how much energy it will save you. Take the cost of the system and multiply it by its' lifespan. Now figure out how much energy you will use in that lifespan to determine if it is right for you.
Maximize the output of your solar panels by adjusting them seasonally. Adjusting your panels twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter, will ensure that your panels are producing the maximum amount of energy by taking into account the earth's changing position relative to the sun.
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Purchase batteries to store excess solar energy. These batteries are similar to rechargeable batteries; however, they use the sun's energy to power up the batteries. This energy can be used in the evenings and at night to help power your appliances, televisions and lighting requirements. These batteries are relatively inexpensive making them a great choice for the beginner.
Using the energy of the sun is a clean way to power the things we use. It's also sustainable as the energy never runs out. One hopes that technology will continue to progress so that everyone can use this energy. For now, you're planning to use it yourself, and that is a step in the right direction.