One of the first things you need to do when you're looking into having a solar electricity system installed for your home is to streamline how much energy you're using. In other words, you want to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. Look at what you're using from day to day, and try to figure out how to get the most usage per watt that you can.
It might be helpful to determine what you can do without. Do you really need the dishwasher? If you end up washing your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, you may consider whether it's even necessary to continue using it. Modern, energy-efficient models are also available, and they can be a convenience, but is it necessary? For some households, it absolutely will be necessary, and for some households it can serve as a glorified dish rack/storage area. Be brutally honest with yourself, as well. You can want to dedicate yourself to, for example, hanging laundry up instead of using the clothes dryer, but if you're the type of person who's going to forget to put it up or take it down, or if it's going to make you reluctant to even do laundry in the first place, you should probably opt to just get a really energy-efficient dryer.
Be honest with yourself about your limits. Some people can live with enough power to make sure they can operate a cell phone and occasionally cook, and some people just can't, and that's fine. Everyone deserves to live their best life. You want to maximize your household energy efficiency in the way that's best going to serve you, not the way you think you should be able to live.
It's also going to be helpful to determine which of your appliances are outdated and need to be upgraded to more energy-efficient models. Look at things like refrigerators, ovens, and even countertop appliances.
This is also absolutely the time when you should, if you haven't already, upgrade your light bulbs from incandescent. Even if it takes a while to get the solar system put in, non-incandescent bulbs tend to last a lot longer and they use less energy. You can get LED light bulbs in all kinds of shapes and sizes. You'd be surprised how many of your light bulbs you can switch out. Don't ignore the odd-sized ones in your ceiling fans.
Once you've streamlined and minimized your energy usage, you can move onto determining how much energy you'll need on a regular basis, and that will let you know how many panels you'll need. It's the first step to making a really good plan for setting yourself up for long-term solar panel usage.
To learn more about solar electricity systems, contact a company like ACR Solar.