If you're thinking about installing solar panels to generate your own electricity, make sure that the roof you'll be installing them on gets plenty of good sunlight. Good sunlight occurs between 9am and 3pm. You'll generate the most electricity if your roof receives full, exposed sunlight between those hours every day.
If you really want to see how your solar panels are working, keep a diary of the day to day energy output. Make a note if you are recording data on a particularly dark or shady day. Having this information can help you to understand how your panels work, and this can help you to optimize their performance.
Leasing a solar system is an option if up-front costs are prohibitive. In the long run, buying a solar energy system is always the better option, however leasing can still result in lower bills overall. Leasing a system will let you take advantage of the energy savings right away, however be aware that you can be stuck with your contract for up to 10 years.