We have 8 panels. They should produce all of our electricity plus extra for most months and in the summer we will need to buy some electricity. We don't have any way to store the power so it goes back to the electric company. It will even out over the year so the electric company will pay us about $50 a year. We might make a game out of it and see if we can use even less electricity so they have to pay us even more ;) Our system will generate RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates) and the electric company will pay us 10 cents per kWh. The RECs are for every kWh we produce, not just the extra that we don't use. The current price for electricity here is about 9 cents per kWh. There is a 30% federal tax credit and a 10% NM state tax credit on solar energy systems. There is also no sales tax on the system. We used our tax refund to purchase it and it covered most of the cost. The entire system (including installation and wiring) was about $12,000. Solar panels increase home value and help the home sell faster so between the money we'll save on electric bills and the value we are adding to our home the system will pay for itself eventually.
Solar panels used to all be connected to each other and they would share an inverter. If one panel had a problem it was like a string of Christmas lights and they wouldn't work. Now they each have their own micro inverter and work independently. We can go online to check each panel's production statistics at any time. There is a 5 year warranty on workmanship, 15 years on the inverters, and 25 years on the panels themselves.
We purchased the panels and they were installed by Sunspot Solar http://www.sunspotenergy.com/
The panels are designed by a German company and built here in New Mexico http://www.us.schott.com/photovoltaic/english/index.html