Solar Power is becoming a more practical alternative for a residential energy alternative. Solar power has no moving parts, does not burn any fossil fuels, and does not contribute to air pollution.
The initial cost of buying your solar panels and all of the equipment that you need to go with it is pretty expensive though. In the long run this will pay itself off by reducing or eliminating your current electricity bills but it is definitely not a way that will get you immediate savings.
Some of the good points is that it will reduce your carbon footprint therefore helping the environment. The panels usually last at least 25 years and have very little degradation over that time. Also going solar can help insulate you from any future increases in the price of fossil fuels that will drive up power costs.
If you plan on using solar power then you will need somewhere to mount them that gets plenty of sunlight. Although these panels do produce power while in the shade or on cloudy days the amount that they produce directly relates to the amount of sunlight they receive.
The most practical system is the grid-tie system where you are supplementing your electricity needs with solar power. These systems are still tied to the grid so at night or during peak power draws then the power from the electric company can take back over and ensure that your power remains uninterrupted.
If you are handy then there is quite a bit of the install process that you can do yourself to further reduce your start up costs for the system. There are parts of it such as actually connecting your solar power system to your existing power supply that will have to be done by a professional though.
If you need help finding affordable solar panels and equipment then you should take a look at this site. http://solarpanelscheap.com