I was at one time going to convert my house to a hybrid system of grid and solar. I was going to use the grid for heavy load items such as the heat pump etc, and light loads such as LED lit rooms, alarm clocks, small fans etc to solar.
The reality of solar, even with LED hit pretty hard.
My original plan was to convert just 1 room for a test. I was going to tap into the circuit at the existing breaker box. "They always say" it's cheaper to make your own solar panel so I made a pair using ebay solar cells. I put together 2 panels to total about 120 watts in bright sunlight. I constructed them quite well using 2 sheets of 1/4" safety glass each, hermetically sealed at the glass shop. I could have went the cheaper construction with plywood but those typicall only last a month or so before water penetration and corrosion.
I bought a 30a charge controller (room to expand) and two deep cycle (golf cart) batteries. The batteries connect to a 2kw inveter so I can run 120v AC devices.
The result was not as I had expected.
This was back in 2009. These are a few of the things I discovered along the way:
* Anything permanently attached to my house is against the government ordinance unless it is UL approved by government inspectors and installed by government licensed installers.
* Anything permanently attached to my home without government approval will void my home insurance. If my wife starts a grease fire in the kitchen and inspectors find modifications at the breaker box it can/will void my insurance even if it has nothing to do with the fire.
I am not willing to take the risk so those things killed the goal of my original project.
But all was not lost. My panels have been charging my batteries since then, and they run a string of LED exterior security lights in my back yard. I have a 3-bulb standing yard lamp with (3) 9w LED's and 2 18w sealed beam LED flood lamps in the very rear. The system has to be maintained once a month. Battery water levels must be checked/added and I overcharge as directed every couple of months to keep the electrolyte stirred.
These were my other discoveries:
*If I did this again I'd use high output commercial panels instead. They are expensive upfront but cheaper per watt and come with at least 20yr warranty.
*Solar panels in a storage setup cost almost 3x as much as grid electricity.
*A grid system uses electricity collected by panels to assist in your electric bill. For example if you use 3KW over a month and generate 1.5KW then your power company bill will be about half. However few people can fork out the +70K out of pocket expense (After rebates and gov incentives) so they take out a loan. Between the power savings and the cost of the loan, there isn't really any benefit. Pray there isn't any out of warranty equipment failure.
Such a setup is guaranteed for about 20 years so when you're done with your loan then it's about time to replace the system again. More, if the grid failes your expensive solar setup won't help you. The power from all your panels will be off even in bright daylight during a grid outage.
The only real or perceived benefit to my solar power generator is during power failure. I can run a lamp and a few small things (No heaters or fridges etc). I won't be dependent on a source of petro should the outage last a few days. Given the fact that grid failure is extremely rare this has been a prohibitively expensive experiment.
I brought up my solar project as it relates to power saving... as LED's do. A lot of people fall for the advertisment scams "Get off the grid with my solar power project book/CD". Disgustingly dishonest those venders are.
Something else to note. Most everyone compares the quality of light to that of incandescent. Not the other way around and there's a reason for it. No, I am not trashing LED's my house (and yard) is full of them but it's just an observation.