We take continuing ed courses on alternative energy devices on occasion.
Currently we are focusing on solar electric systems for the home and the question always is asked of the instructor, "Why is solar electric so high priced?"
The answer to this always reminds me of a computer expert we once had who said the quickest way to increase the speed of your computer is to learn to type faster.
Most households waste a great deal of electricity. Of course heating and cooling are prime electric hogs as is water heating but little things can really help to reduce the household use of electricity and thereby the requirement of electricity for a DC alternative to the AC home power most of us have and thereby lower the cost of solar electric.
Have you ever taken your power bill, sat down at your favorite table, and tried to determine where this power demand is generated from. Yes it is not a fun experience and it will take time, perhaps up to an hour, but it will show you just how much you waste.
You will need to maybe pull out the stove and oven and washer dryer and dish washer to get info off the product tags(or you can go to the web if you know the model number) to determine the amperage and wattage ratings @ 120V. Just take this info and multiply it by your daily(or monthly usage) of the appliance. Light bulbs are a bit easier especially if you use compact fluorescent bulbs but you really need to walk around the home and inventory all electric users. If you have a blender and only use it for the occasional margarita then forget that device in the calculation.
As we said heating and cooling are at the top of the list for electric use.
You perhaps could do a personal study and see how much less electricity you use if you set the thermostat 1 degree higher for cool or 1 degree lower for heat than for the same period the year before.
There are many ways to cut down on the need for large use of AC or heat. The easiest and first way should be to search for poorly sealed windows and doors. Your local utility will come out and help you do this for free. Just set up an audit. If you end up spending $500 to seal and replace bad window and door insulation it could provide you a payback in lower electric bills in as fast as 3 months if your power bill is >$350/mos
It's ok to walk around in a t shirt in the summer or in a heavy sweater in the winter as long as your health is not affected.
There are many ways to save on your electric bill but becoming intimately familiar with your energy use is certainly job 1.