Solar is expensive, but there may be opportunities to recoup the initial investment by selling surplus power back to the grid. I really don't know the specifics on this, but it is worth checking with your local utility to see if this is possible. If so, you can eventually repay yourself for the investment and actually create a small income on the side in the future.
You could also make or buy a solar water heater
. It is typically a passive (non-electric) solar system that heats water in a collector panel (dark tubes that absorb solar radiation) and then either feeds it to a backup water heater or directly into the system. They're pretty neat.