Our sun provides more energy to the earth's surface every day than all the world's power plants can produce in a year. Solar panels are used on many things including calculators, remote road signs, and utility solar generation plants. Solar panels can also be installed on businesses and residential buildings. Solar installations have dropped as much as half the installed cost over the last 3-5 years making them very affordable and delivering a payback on investment of around 5 years when you include the 30% federal tax credit. You don't have to live in a sunny state to benefit from solar generation in fact states like Michigan have some advantages like cooler weather that help increase the output of solar panels. Getting the most benefit out of solar panels, however, requires careful planning. Siting the solar panels to avoid obstacles like tree cover around the house is important to maximize generation. Solar installers do a site survey and generation assessment to predict the amount of energy available in different locations of your property and can tell how much solar generation to expect from different types of collectors before you decide to purchase them. Solar panels can be mounted in the yard on post mount devices that move the panels to track the sun maximizing solar generation. Contact Michigan Saves to find out about ways to finance solar collectors using the money saved in utility costs.