When you are just transitioning to solar power, pick something small to start with. Purchase a few solar energy lights for landscape lighting to help save energy and protect our planet. You can find them at big box and even home improvement stores. The installation is simple enough for the budding do-it-yourselfer to accomplish.
Panels have to face the sun to draw power. You get the energy from the sun, so it's important for the panels to be located in an area where they can get all the solar energy possible.
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Going with a solar panel system does not mean that you will be ripping off your roof. You can always start small by purchasing outdoor lighting that is run off of solar energy. They'll charge up during the day to light all night, with exception of pre-dawn hours during long winter nights.