Do not rush in selecting the first solar power system you come across. Before you make a commitment with a company, you need to make sure you cannot find any better deals elsewhere. Check out your town's federal, state, and local incentives first. You can find this information at the DSIRE database.
Understand the limitations of solar water heating. The best systems are one third more economical when compared to energy efficient electric water heaters. Don't assume that early morning showers involve only cold water. The water in the tank should stay hot for at least 24 hours.
If you cannot afford a full-scale solar energy system, consider investing in a smaller one. Some vendors offer small systems designed to power a water heater or a generator. This small investment should help you save money within the next few years and you can easily expand your solar energy system by powering more appliances with solar panels.
Keep your solar panels out of the shade. It might seem obvious, but your solar panels do need sun. Make sure that you are not installing them in the shade. Trim back the branches on surrounding trees if you need to. Failing to do so could cost you more than half your energy output.