Try to choose solar panels that can have their angles adjusted easily. The angle at which the sun hits the Earth changes throughout the year. This means that the best angle to catch the suns rays can be very different between summer and winter. Ideally you want to at least be able to adjust the angle of your panels twice a year, however if you can find some that allow adjustments four times a year (spring, summer, fall, winter) that is even better.
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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.