“A lot has changed in the intervening 37 years [since President Carter installed solar panels on the White House]: Solar costs have dropped so much that today it’s possible to generate all or most of a home’s electricity — for decades to come — for about the purchase price of a new economy car. Solar installations have increased dramatically. And President Obama has installed new panels on the White House roof.
There has probably never been a better time to switch to solar. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have regulations that are solar-friendly enough (and electricity rates high enough) to make residential solar financially attractive (see map), and last December Congress extended through 2021 the generous federal tax credits on solar projects that had been set to expire at the end of this year. Residential solar installations increased almost 60 percent between 2014 and 2015, and in 2015 America averaged one new residential solar installation about every 100 seconds.
Those who want to wait on the sidelines for further price reductions could be disappointed: The cost of solar panels has started to plateau.
Sales reps may boast about “smart” systems, for example, to convince you that their proposal is better than the other guys’. “Ignore the pitch; just go for the lowest cost per watt you can get,” Pearce says.
This article will walk you through smart steps of going solar from start to finish, to help you steer clear of common mistakes and increase the chances that your solar future will be a bright one.”
More at the source: Consumer Reports
So there you have it from Consumer Reports, the most unbiased authoritative source that I’m aware of. They recommend to “Ignore the pitch; just go for the lowest cost per watt you can get.”