Solar Prices Continue to Drop – Should You Buy Now?
Will solar panels drop in price?
In short, yes, panels will get cheaper but that doesn’t always make it cost less. Solar panel technology is just like other technology, for example, smart phones. Sure, the iPhone 6 has gotten cheaper..much less than a brand new iPhone XS. But let me ask you this. Did you forgo the enjoyment smartphone enjoyment until the newest technology came out? Likely not. But you know what won’t make solar panels cheaper? Waiting till the 30% Renewable Energy Tax Credit expires.
What makes solar more or less expensive?
You wouldn’t buy a Ferrari when all you need is a Ford. The same thought process can be applied to your solar PV system. The most expensive panel does not always mean it’s the best. Since solar installation companies each get to set their pricing, as Home Solar and Efficiency Consultants we have to help unpack a few pieces of their service and product to determine the overall value. Some higher priced installs offer a longer warranty on workmanship, some offer extended warranties on equipment, and some just like to start with a higher price on the bill because they think you’ll pay it. There are “Ferraris” in the solar panel world but don’t buy it if you don’t really need it.
Thoughts on the best time to purchase solar photovoltaics.
Scouring the industry for the lowest possible price tag for your solar panel installation might sound like the best way to save money when you go solar. In truth, bargain hunting for equipment may not always be worth the effort. While it’s always a good idea to consider price, a more holistic approach to clean energy will dictate that you equally examine other factors that will get you the highest return on your clean energy investment.Ultimately, that’s the job of a Home Solar and Efficiency Consultant. To help advocate for our clients to reach their goals.
Solar is one of the larger investments you’ll make to your home. If your goal is to maximize long-term solar savings, then it behooves us all to take the quality of your equipment into consideration. Like many things, no two solar panels (or inverters) are created equal. The more expensive panels typically come with a better warranty and/or production guarantees that ensure you create as much clean energy as advertised. As you’re out there surfing on Google, if you come across advice to simply order the cheapest solar cells available, take pause. You would put yourself at risk of creating a situation where you will no longer be able to reach your goal of converting your home to clean energy, effectively and efficiently.
Want to know the average cost of going solar in Colorado?
With the average cost per kW in Northern Colorado being $3,200, why might you have a proposal at over $4,000/kW? First thing to check is the quality of the equipment. The average wattage per “Ford” panel is 300 watts. The lower priced panels will be in the high 200’s for wattage, and the “Ferraris” will be upwards of 360 watts per panel. The higher the panel’s wattage, the more energy it can produce with the same sunlight. The more energy they create, the more value you receive, and the more you pay. With an average size install being 7 Kilowatts, multiplied by $3,200, the average install can be around $22,400. I like this resource for panel specs comparison. It’s called Solar Design Tool.
When will solar get cheaper?
How much cheaper do you need solar to be before you’ll say yes to it? The cost of solar has dropped over 50% since 2008. Now that the cost for a panel is only $0.30 per watt, a 10% reduction in cost would not make any big ripples in the overall cost. One of the higher costs of going solar is in the overhead of the installation company. The main overhead cost is the cost of marketing and the cost of new customer acquisition. As an industry, solar is working to bring that amount down as there are more and more people choosing to go solar everyday. One thing to be aware of is that the Federal Tax Credit for renewable energy is expiring soon. Once that happens, solar prices will effectively increase by 30%. The small reduction in cost does not outweigh the cost of waiting.
I still want the cheapest solar|!
Cool. Let’s go for it and make your purchase entirely focused around finding the cheapest deal. Let’s just be sure that you do a little extra due diligence to do your best to ensure everything will work over the short AND long term. Just note that the payback period of your solar panel system may take up to twice as long with less expensive (ie. efficient) equipment and your investment may never earn the return you expected. And, without a good warranty your entire payback is at risk of being thrown off with one broken panel or piece of “lemon” equipment. Such is working with the cheapest.
So, yes, solar will continue to get cheaper and cheaper. But a wise man once said, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” Ready to start your path to clean solar energy?
You can get solar for as little as $0-down. Will that save you any money? Maybe. Get your Free Report today and lets find out!
Written by James W Mitchellisaac Green Education, Renewable Energy, Solar