I searched the forums here for solar panel discussions and learned quite a bit, but I wonder if the info is outdated. I'm trying to figure out whether to put solar on my roof and need to learn about the technology and economics.

I don't have high energy usage (efficient and relatively small house): 350kWh/month. We have gas stove, heat, water heater, and dryer. I'm looking into a system that apparently has a by-the-panel dc to ac converter (as opposed to just one big one next to the meter), which supposedly increases efficiency.

Figuring in the federal tax credit, it looks like with 7% yearly rate hikes (conservative, especially with smart meters) I could recoup 15k installation after 11 years (ignoring potential house value increase) which seems like too long. At present, I think I'll put it off, but maybe I'm missing something. I kind of want to do it because the 15k isn't earning much and I don't want to buy more gold.

If anyone can share thoughts or solar education resources, I'd appreciate it. -Tim