Best Time to Install Solar Panels
Installing solar panels can be a significant upfront investment but over time they can pay off and even return you money. By installing solar panels on your home you can save thousands of dollars per year in costly utility bills as well as increase the value of your home.
There are a few considerations to consider before you run out and purchase solar panels or hire a solar company. The question many of our customers ask us is - when is the best time to install their panels?
The truth is that the best time to install solar panels depends on several factors, including your location, energy usage, and the available incentives but ultimately comes down to your budget and financial status.
Being a Northern Michigan solar installation company, we tend to install solar panels all year round but many of our customers try to install before the heavy snow hits late Fall and early Spring.
In this resource we step you through many of the considerations on when to install solar panels whether you're looking for your home or a commercial solar installation. Keep reading and if you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out to our team of highly trained experts.
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Best Time of Year to Install Solar Panels
The best time of year to install solar panels is during spring or summer. During these seasons there are longer days and more sunlight meaning your home or business will generate more power for you. The weather is also very predictable and makes installation of the panels much easier.
Spring is one of the most popular times to have solar panels installed as it allows homeowners to get full use of their system during the summer months when there is more sunlight. The demand for installations will start to pick up during this time period so it's best to be proactive and talk to a solar installer.
Summer is the second best time as this is considered the "peak season" for installation. The longer days and higher temperatures can lead to increased energy production which can quickly make an impact on your utility costs. This is also when most solar installation companies are booked up so you will want to schedule well in advance.
If you weren't able to get an installation for spring or summer then fall is your next best bet. There is still a good amount of sunlight available and the weather will be mild making installation easier.
However, if you're looking to see an immediate impact in your solar panels then installing in fall or winter may not be the best option. This season is when most solar installation companies start to wind down so you may be able to start negotiating for a deal or even have a quick turnaround on installation time.
It may not seem like the best time for solar panel installation but winter can actually be a good opportunity for you if you're not in a rush to get panels installed. There is less demand during the winter so some companies may offer lower prices or incentives to attract customers.
It's important to keep in mind that solar energy production in the winter months, especially in Michigan, will be at its lowest.
Financing Solar Panels When You're Ready
Likely the big reason holding you back from installing solar panels is the sheer cost of installation. The prices of solar panels have dropped upwards of 70% in the last 10 years but it's still a pretty sizable investment. The perks of tax credits and incentives is that you tend to have a longer window to claim these to help cover the costs of installation.
There is also financing available for solar installations.
The federal government offers a tax credit for solar installation. This tax credit is worth up to 30% of the installation costs of your new solar installation.
Incentives & Rebates
The incentives available will depend on the state you live in. In Michigan, there are no statewide incentives available to use for installation, however, there are some regional ones and product specific ones you can leverage.
For example, Cherryland Electric Co-Op in Northern Michigan offers an incentive to install their solar panels and you sell back some of your electricity to them at a reduced cost.
Michigan offers a program called Michigan Saves that offers loans up to $60,000 at a lower interest rate helping homeowners, and businesses, get the much needed upgrades they want.
Things to Consider Beyond Time of Year
The time of year you install solar can make a big difference on cost of the system and how much you save in your monthly utility bills, especially if you live in areas like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
However, there are other considerations you should take into account before installing your new solar system:
- Type of Solar Energy System: The type of solar mounting you want can impact when your solar energy system will be installed. For example, a ground mounted solar system may not be installed in the winter due to the hard ground but a roof mounted solar system can.
- HVAC: If you have air conditioning or a non-traditional heating system, such as geothermal, then you may have to work your installation timing into certain parts of the year like Spring or Fall.
- Commercial Downtime: If you're a commercial business then you'll want to find the best time to have your panels installed since they will have to turn off the power to the building and this could cause downtime with your employees.
Is It More Cost-Effective to Install Solar Panels in the Winter?
Not always but depending on the area and company you work with you can maybe find yourself getting a deal or lower installation costs as most solar companies are lower on work during the winter months.
The winter months can be more cost-effective for you as well since solar panels operate more efficiently with less heat and can take in more solar energy if the sun is shining.
Should You Install Now or Wait for Better Technology?
This is a question only you can really answer and it comes down to how badly you want to be energy efficient, environmentally friendly and saving money each month. The cost of solar panels has decreased considerably over the last decade and the technology around them is evolving all the time.
It's getting faster to offset the cost of solar panels as their price lowered and most have their panels and installation costs paid off in less than 5 years.