any input on these? have not started research. i'm sure they are spendy. thought they looked like a good idea, but wonder how powerful they are and how much sun they need.
Depends on your location & site. Not so much your weather, but specifically, your exact location. We have a local commercial radio station that puts out a LOT of power that is run completely on solar--but they are right on the Boston harbor, catching southeastern sun, with no buildings taller than their offices around. I looked into putting one on my barn roof, since the radio station had such great success, but the barn is just too shaded by trees (including neighbor's trees).
My tree/hillside situation also means wind is not an option for me. I can do microhydro about 8 months/year--that may be something to look into if there is even a smallish creek on your property, microhydro can be very efficient.
Another thing to consider is what electricity mostly gets used for in your house. If you're using it for hot water, heat & a/c, something like geothermal might be a better option.