One great way to take advantage of solar energy is by constructing a heat well just inside the south facing windows or patio doors of your home. This well collects heat from the sun during the day and releases it after dark. This form of solar energy is completely passive and requires no maintenance.
Always use non abrasive cleansers on your solar panels. An abrasive cleaner can scratch the surface of the panel and cause permanent damage and affect how well the solar panel works. There are commercial cleaning solutions to use or you can use a pool skimmer with a very soft cloth on it.
See how to test your solar panel for open voltage and current reading. Results will vary depending on sun strength, time of day, angle of light and temperature.
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.
When you are figuring out the return on your solar power investment, do not forget that you can sell back energy to your utility company if you generate a surplus. This is usually in the form of a credit on your utility bills. Even though the initial investment may be hefty, the long-term financial benefits is there for the taking.