Do not be discouraged at the cost of starting solar energy. You may find it pricy to get the products you need for setting up a solar energy system. But, you will find a much cheaper electric bill every month, paying off the initial start up cost and then some.
This is a brilliant DIY hack for creating an off-grid water heater with just a simple handmade rocket stove, water barrel, and copper pipes! No pump! No propane!
Larger solar panels are not necessarily a good option. The quality of each panel is affected by many factors, like wattage and warranty. Consider everything when making a hefty purchase like this.
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.