If you live in an area that gets a lot of sun throughout the year, collecting it to heat your home or water could save you a significant amount of money. The disadvantage is that the start-up costs are high so it works best if you plan on staying in your home for a long time. There are currently federal tax credits for 30% of the cost of solar water heaters and solar panels. These are set to stay in effect through 2016. To find out more information, you can check here: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index
Some electric companies have also been offering incentives by buying back excess solar energy that you collect. To see what might be offered in your state, you can go to this website: http://dsireusa.org/ This site also gives comprehensive information about all of the energy saving programs offered throughout the United States.
If you’re not sure if you want to make a big commitment, or you don’t know if you get enough sunlight to make it worthwhile, consider investing in used solar panels or just a basic water heater system. If you are handy, there are many companies that sell do-it-yourself kits.