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.
Be aware that you can still get solar power benefits even if you live in a chilly, overcast area. It doesn't need to be like Florida all year round for it to be a big part of your energy savings goals. Great solar power output can come on poor weather days.
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If solar panels are too expensive for you, think about renting them. Leasing is not as expensive as buying, and you can realize your savings sooner, like around a few weeks.
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.