If the cost of solar panels is prohibitive, you might consider buying one at a time. An energy audit can be requested from your electric company. This will assist you in figuring out how you use energy, so you could make some adjustments. This will allow you to use fewer solar panels.
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.
How to set and use a MS3D Solar Controller.
When using solar energy for the first time, it's probably a good idea to start out small. A small investment of just a few solar powered garden lights is a great way to get started. You can find them at big box and even home improvement stores. They are as easy to install as any other garden light.