When is the Best Time to Go Solar?
People frequently ask about the best time to go solar. Should solar panels be installed when the weather is sunniest? Is installing solar panels in the winter foolish? And they don’t just wonder what time of year is best to install solar panels. They may hear stories about groundbreaking improvements in solar panel efficiency or wonder if pricing on solar panels will drop even lower, leading them to question whether they should postpone their decision. Every choice involves trade-offs, so when it comes to saving money with solar power, is it more advantageous to install panels now or wait for potential advancements in technology or price reductions?
In almost every case the answer is: The best time to go solar is now.
What Time of Year Should I Install Solar?
Truth is, there really is no bad time of year to go solar. However, the ideal timing for you to do it may differ depending on your specific objectives.
There are distinct advantages to installing solar at the beginning of the year. By having your solar system up and running before the peak generating months of spring and summer, you can take full advantage of the benefits of solar energy for the entire year. Additionally, scheduling your installation early ensures that you secure a spot in our installation schedule before the busy season.
During spring, the days grow longer and brighter, with summer just around the corner. This means that you can still make the most of reducing your power bill and accumulating net metering credits before the darker months of fall and winter arrive.
Even if you decide to wait until summer, there will still be plenty of long, sun-filled days ahead, with fewer chances of weather events causing delays in the installation process.
As we approach late fall and enter into winter, it may be tempting to postpone going solar until the following year. However, if you install your solar system before January 1, you can take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit for this year. This means that even with less solar capacity during the colder months, you can still reap significant financial benefits. And if you are unable to meet the deadline, you can still secure a spot in our schedule and be one of the first installations in the new year, allowing you to experience the benefits of going solar early in the year.
Maybe Solar Prices Will Go Down Again. Should I Wait to Buy?
The price of solar energy has come down a lot in the last decade. This is mainly because more solar panels are being produced around the world, resulting in lower costs to manufacture the equipment due to economies of scale. Now that manufacturers have geared up to produce large quantities of solar panels and pricing is at an all time low, it’s unlikely that future pricing will drop much And saving a small amount of money on the upfront cost of solar isn’t worth delaying the switch. Because the price of electricity you buy from utilities is not slowing down.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. residential electricity bills increased 5% in 2022, after adjusting for inflation. The moment you install solar panels, you eliminate paying your utility for whatever portion of your power usage you offset, which means that portion of your usage is no longer impacted by utility rate increases. And your savings compounds over the decades long lifetime of your solar panels. Which means the sooner you start generating your own power, the sooner you begin saving on your electricity bill and recouping your investment in solar. Every day you delay means spending too much money on electricity costs.
Should I Wait for Better Technology or More Efficient Solar Panels
The wattage rating of solar panels has been steadily increasing over the past 10+ years, because as manufacturers have increased volume and improved their manufacturing processes, they have been able to increase the efficiency of solar cells. But there is a limit to how efficient the cells can become, and the rate of improvement has slowed considerably.
In recent years, significant advancements in solar technology have primarily focused on the electronic aspects of installations. For instance, micro inverters revolutionized the industry by offering distinct advantages over traditional string inverters. But while micro inverters enhanced system efficiency and monitoring capabilities, they did not yield significant cost savings.
Also, there’s no real benefit in upgrading to more “modern” solar panels or components every few years. If your power needs change or you want to expand your solar power system for any reason, today’s systems are quite flexible. Adding solar panels or batteries down the road is typically pretty easy. It no longer makes sense to wait to go solar to gain greater efficiency or additional bells and whistles. By going solar now, you can take advantage of the tremendous product improvements that have already been achieved.
The Right Question to Ask
So ultimately, instead of asking when is the best time to go solar, the right question to ask might be: Do I want to continue paying my utility for my electricity or would I rather be paying myself? We suggest, if you think going solar is right for you, don’t hesitate or wait for the perfect moment. The optimal time to make the switch is right now.
For 23 years Fire Mountain Solar has been helping clients go solar, with our full service installations and DIY solar support services.
If you have been considering investing in solar, we would be honored to answer all your questions and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. And we’ll make the entire process simple and stress free.