I've got solar, but the kind for heating water! 200 sf of flat panels on the roof, and darn it makes nice hot water for our domestic hot and radiant floor heating. I reconstructed the home to have thermal breaks in the roof and wall systems, daylighting , and super- duper windows and insulation as well. Which brings be to the next point in my head- Conservation...!
Boyscout made some great moves by going passive, not everyone has that option. If I could have re- sited our home, I would have so I did the best I could with what I have.
Making ones usage as low as possible, br it electrical demand or heating demands comes first. Dead first... Get an energy audit done on a home before diving into the waters of solar power or heat. Either way it is spendy, and the monetary " payback " timeframe varys by site , insolation, and the craziest variable of all- the inhabitants :)
Someone broiught up builditsolar, which is a great site full of ideas. Another resource is The Midwest Renewable Energy Association,( www. the-mrea.org ) ..... Their energy fair is coming up here in WI yet again and is well worth attending. People fly in from all around the world to share ideas, technology, great ideas and some half- baked ones too LOL.
As far as PV panels, their effeciency has been going up and their cost has been coming way down as far as I have been pricing them, which is about 15 + years. Another great improvement is the cost of the inverters and grid intertie gear. Costs have plummeted through the years :) Batteries, well, lead is still expensive as anyone can relate to when ya gotta replace the battery in the GT or car at home. Now multiply the bejeezus outta that sticker shock for a battery backup system .
Look around your municipality for bulk buys of panels, get involved with groups that are into solar, and when the time is right, go ahead and make the investment if you see fit.