I think water heating is the niche where solar can do its best job. I have seen simple solar heaters built by writers & artists that heat ample hot water in warm seasons with no real insulation or prime placement. With a little work, they can harness the free heat of the sun and save a lot of energy and money.
Now to put my $ where my mouth is and set up one for myself. I have been threatening to do it for a lot of years.
Yes, I'll be happy to do a first class job for less than anyone else and take a dollar a week for 10 years.