Kudos to you for doing a solar panel installation. I've been thinking of my own, but feel that it is still too expensive. I think it is still "big dumb engineering", though I understand solar has gotten much better in recent years. A 30 year or longer payback period is just too long for me. There is so much that can happen in 30 years: technological improvements and price drops, and you may move or die, or your house may be destroyed by fire, tornado, earthquake, flood, or termites.
What I mean by big dumb engineering is exemplified by the double pane windows. Save up to 50% on your heating and cooling costs, they say. How much to replace all the windows and glass doors? Why, only $10,000! I spend about $700 per year on heating and cooling, so the windows only save me $350 per year at best, which makes for about a 30 year payback period right there. I very much doubt I'd see a 50% cut in my heating and cooling costs anyway. A better solution is to put curtains on all the windows. Way, way cheaper, and looks nice too.
Anyway, I've read the first use of solar should be for hot water. There too, I've had no luck. One business quoted me an incredible price tag of $17,000 for their solar water heating system. They quickly rolled out discounts and tax rebates and the like, and got it down to $6000. Nope, still too expensive. I replaced the tank water heater with another tank water heater for $350 (it's nearly the lowest quality available, warrantied for only 6 years), hoping to buy more time for solar water heating to come down in price.
I've gone for much more modest improvements. Replaced incandescent lights with CFLs, and now LEDs. The 4 ft fluorescent tube has been improved from 40 watts to 32 watts and the diameter shrunk a little, and I upgraded to 2 of those when an old ballast went bad. There was this 80plus program to improve the efficiency of computer power supplies. My newest computers are small footprint and low energy, using only 30 watts maximum, and I set them up to sleep after 10 to 15 minutes of inactivity. Tube monitors and TVs are all gone, replaced with flat screens. Most of all, I've let the temperature swing more with the seasons, living with 83F in the summer, and 70F in the winter. I'd go even colder, but the rest of the family whines too much. All that has cut energy use by about 50%. Was using around 10,000 kWh per year, and now I'm at 5200 kWh.