When is the right time to go Solar?

Q&A from our 'Learn about Solar' series.

This is probably our most-asked question here at ThinkSolar. It always goes something like this:

I want energy independance, and I think solar will work for me... BUT...

"When should I bite the bullet and actually go solar?"

As you can imagine there is no one easy answer for this. There are a TON of factors to consider, mainly:

  • Does your state offer additional rebates? To find out, check here.
  • Do you own your home and does it have a sturdy and mostly shade-less roof area? If the answers to these questions are Yes!, then you probably should just reach out to one of our installers now. Seriously. No, Seriously.
  • Does your state offer leasing options? Again, you can check that out here.
  • Does your state allow interconnection or net metering? They are important, and you can find out here. (notice a pattern yet?)

There are a few less quantifiable factors as well. We try to outline the major ones below.

1. Expiring Rebates

Some states have actually gotten such overwhelming response to their rebates, that they have pared down their renewable energy rebate programs or discontinued them all together. Is your state one of them? If it still offers rebates, great. But beware - some rebates disappear as quickly as they showed up in the first place. The one semi-constant that does exist is the Federal Tax Credit of 30%. That is still in place until 2019 (or so they say.)

2. General Cost Reductions

Yes, solar panels will follow the law of supply and demand and eventually drop in price. This happens with all technology that is in demand. (Solar is definitely in demand right now). But there are other factors that may force you to buy now... Rebates. yeah, the price of solar panels may decrease over time, but do you think they will drop 30% over the next few years? Very likely not.

3. Can you afford it?

This is a personal question that only you can answer. The good thing is that there are a handful of states that allow leasing of solar panels (no upfront cost). A Home Equity Line of Credit is also an option if you feel that you can make your money back in a reasonable amount of time. Some households save over $2,500 a year by switching to solar energy, and at that rate, it would only take about 5 years to pay off a 5kW system.

4. Waiting for better Technology

This is a myth. Solar technology has been around since the 1970s. Yes, there may be modern updates added in the coming years (recently monitoring apps were added), but nothing that is going to drastically make your solar panels more efficient or awesome.

There you have it. Some of you reading this will think "I need to do this now", while others may not be so sure. I suggest you check out your home location to see how your area stacks up and maybe even ask for a quote from one of our installers. It couldn't hurt... but it could end up saving you a lot of money in the not-so-distant future.

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