Minimize the upfront costs of solar panels by considering a lease instead of a purchase. This spreads the payments over a long-term period into monthly installments, so you could actually start saving money immediately. Still, consider how long you will be in that building, as the long-term periods usually run a decade.
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Going with a solar panel system does not mean that you will be ripping off your roof. You can always start small by purchasing outdoor lighting that is run off of solar energy. They'll charge up during the day to light all night, with exception of pre-dawn hours during long winter nights.
A charge controller is a great addition to any solar array, specifically those that are working above 10 watts on a regular basis. These small devices act as "ON" and "OFF" switches to protect your batteries. They prevent overcharging from damaging your batteries and can provide more advanced charging options depending on the make and model.