I have been talking with neighbors in my community about supplementing their energy needs by either installing solar arrays or by joining a solar co-op. My intent is to remove the need for more power plants. So far in my community We are doing well with current energy needs. But Only one neighbor seems truly interested in this technology. The cost
You would do well to have a complete energy audit of your home-as would the neighbors. Don't settle for a fly by night freebee offered by someone with a separate agenda-like a window company or a solar salesman trying to sell a high end product; or a utility looking for a tax deduction/regulation compliance. Pay an independent auditor $400-$500 and get a game plan with you saving money as the only agenda. A complete audit would include a blower door test, IR imaging, duct leakage testing,and combustion appliance testing. This would be a small investment-a few hundred dollars, and it could save you thousands. You will get a much better return on your investment if you look at it as you would getting the highest interest rate possible on savings in a bank. It is very possible that an audit will show ways to save energy at a much much lower cost than going solar. Doing so will still reduce demand on energy producers while freeing up more funds for you to save for the solar project. Good luck.