"We had been investigating [solar] for several years as a way to reduce our monthly expenses and move toward a smaller footprint on the planet."  The North Family chose to make the jump to solar when they realized the 2011 incentives offered such a great financial return and they found a lease option that worked for them: "the leasing cost makes the system completely affordable."  They are really excited about all the different aspects of their system, but "the most exciting thing for us is watching the meter run backwards.  It's always wonderful knowing that we are generating more than we are consuming."  Since aesthetics were very important to this family, "we are fortunate that the design of our house makes the system all but completely invisible."  The Norths also employ rainwater harvesting on their property which allows them to water their plants by storing rain runnoff from their roof.  They are also on track for getting their hot water from the sun, too.