Your solar energy system needs to be exposed to the sun at all times. Most homeowners have their solar panels installed on their roof but you could also have some panels installed on your front lawn. Do not hesitate to cut a few trees to avoid shadows and have a professional help you determine the best place for your panels.
Solar panels must be cleaned regularly. If your home is in a filthy region or close to the desert, they should be hosed weekly. Regardless of air born dirt and dust, you should do a through cleaning every couple months. Clean solar panels are productive solar panels.
One great way to take advantage of solar energy is by constructing a heat well just inside the south facing windows or patio doors of your home. This well collects heat from the sun during the day and releases it after dark. This form of solar energy is completely passive and requires no maintenance.