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.
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Get the records from your energy company on how much energy you have used in the last five years. You can then use this information to figure out exactly how much power you will need solar energy to provide for you home. Having the past five years is important so that you can see that some years you will need more energy than others.