I know nothing about solar, but my life time experiences tell me that you can't trust anyone. So, I'll just stick to my heat pump and hope the power company isn't screwing me. Just my 2 cents.
You are absolutely correct.I would recommend that if you do choose to do solar do NOT put it on your roof, EVER. That is worst possible location due to maintenance costs for repairs to system, repairs to roof, replacement of roof, etc and insurance will typically refuse to cover the cost of solar panels which means you have too. If you get them, put them on posts on your property or a shed roof that can be repaired by you directly at a realistic cost depending one how many panels you want.
Then if you plan on connecting the power to your house there is usually a connection fee the power company wants as it connects to their grid. After that fee they usually charge you a monthly fee for having the panels connected to the grid system. Any power you create over and above what you use goes back into the power grid and most power companies will not compensate you for the power you are generating and unintentionally sending their way. Some companies will compensate but you need to contact yours to see how that works with whoever you have. You can get battery backups but those are extremely expensive and they deteriorate over time and lose they load capacities because they are batteries after all.
Also remember that solar generates zero electricity at night. The peak power generating temperature is typically around 65-68 degrees, anything above or below that temperature will reduce the power generated. So the hotter, or colder, it gets the less power the system will generate and that can increase exponentially. Any kind of shade that falls onto the panels exponentially reduces the amount of power generated or prevents it completely. How the panels are wired plays big time into the shading issue as the way it is wired can cause the entire line of panels to lose its production from minimal shade. Shade covering 10-20% of your panel(s) can cause you to lose up to 90% of the production for that panel or string (pending wiring).
I was a licensed solar installer so I do know quite a bit about this. Solar can be a good supplement to power but it cannot realistically replace the existing power you use from the grid already. If you have to take out a loan for solar, don't do it. You will NEVER get back into the positive money wise due to paying the loan with interest versus actual cost savings in electricity. Cash or no solar because it will be a bottomless pit of money loss. Even paying in cash it will likely take years to get into "positive" territory concerning cost vs savings.
Please understand I am not bashing solar as it is a valuable supplement to power in the right instances. I just wanted to point out some things that are often overlooked or unknown to the general public. Salesman are just that and they seek to make money and a disappointing number will hold back information just so they can get the sell. Just do your research wherever you are to find those hidden fees and other variables that get overlooked as mentioned above.