Solar energy generation is one of the more acceptable methods of generating your own power due to the low visibility [compared to a heat pumps or wind turbines] and easier installation.
Below are two practical ways to use Solar Power in your home at the moment.
Solar PV [PhotoVoltaics]
This is quite a complex technology to evaluate. Many different types of units exist from tiles to transparent panels and many things to consider from whether your roof can support it through to how much sunlight falls there.
Grants and a current project to replace tiles can offset the costs but typically an installation will cost between £8-12k and will save you about 40% of your electricity bills a year [~£200]. Of course, you can also sell the electricity back to the grid.
Maintenance is quite simple though but you will need time to keep them clean and make sure they do not get overgrown.
Solar Water Heating
These panels can come in the form of evacuated tubes or flat plate collectors. Many of the same concerns to the above are apparent but they are used to heat the water in your home. Unfortunately they would still need to be backed up by a boiler.
Installation typically costs between £3-5k and saves you between £50-100 in a year.
Click here for more information on solar panels and gadgets for your garden