Bigger and Better
In the U.S., we tend to find ourselves waiting for the next “bigger” or “better” option to come to the table before we make big purchases. As anxiously await to see what the next model Tesla electric car will look like or what features the next iPhone will highlight. We balance the cost of the investment of the ‘next big thing’ with waiting it out for something that is bigger, better, stronger – all with a smaller price tag. That purchaser tendency proliferates within the solar industry as well. The two big things that people ask when learning about solar is
- Should I wait for prices to drop and
- Is there a better panel on the horizon I should wait for?
Let’s take a quick look at some answers for those questions.
Will Solar Panels Drop in Price if I Wait to Install my Panels?
Panels are currently at the lowest price per watt than they have historically ever been. When people ask about “solar fall out” in pricing, they are often surprised to learn that we are already there! According to Lazard’s most recent report Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, prices for solar panels plunged between 2009 and 2017. Most solar experts believe that the cost cuts to solar have bottomed out. A representative from Saule Technologies stated, “We saw a very rapid fall of the process. [But] there are technology obstacles [for it] to go down as rapidly as it did since 2013.
This confirms that now is a great time to purchase solar panels. The cost has dropped radially over the last 15 years and with current technology, there are very limited capabilities for manufactures or installation companies to reduce costs more and still stay open. However, it does also suggest that perhaps there is something more on the horizon.
Is There a Better Panel on the Horizon?
Of course, there is. Solar energy is, and has been, on the cutting edge of research and development for over 50 years. For decades, scientists have worked to harness the power of the sun in the most efficient, safe and effective manner possible. There is surely not a moment in recent history where solar energy and developing technology has not been studied.
However, research and development and consumer accessible are two different games. Currently, solar panels are silicon-based. It is that technology that has allowed for costs to become manageable for the mainstream population. There are several companies that are exploring the use of Perovskite to collect a different part of the sunlight’s wavelength and layer the Perovskite on top of the silicone to maximize electricity generation. The technology is exciting.
However, it is also still only in early exploratory states of research and development and at least a decade, being optimistic, away from becoming consumer accessible.
An Ideal Solution for Residential Solar Energy Already Exists
The simple answer to both previously posited questions is that there really is not going to be a predictable less expensive or more technologically advanced panel in the near future. What we can predict is the increasing cost of electricity. Solar installation and manufacturing companies can no longer play price games with the products since the panels are at a historically low price and there is very little wiggle room to make significant discounts in prices for consumers. Additionally, the quality of standard, residential and commercial solar panels is higher than it has been historically as well. In the U.S. market today, some panels have efficiency rating as high as 22.5% whereas the majority fall within 15% – 17%.
Another key idea is that local solar installation companies, such as ours, tend to have lower prices and more panels to choose from compared to larger, national scaled solar installation companies. Having the power of choice with a local installer will greatly improve the overall production of your solar system, as you have the choice of panel and array layout on the roof of your home. The only way to find the ‘sweet spot in solar’ for your home is to work with a solar professional to evaluate your solar needs.
Speak with An Energy Adviser
Since it is evident that now is the time to explore residential and commercial solar options, take a moment to reach out to one of our Energy Advisers to get an estimate for your solar installation. An Energy Adviser can also help you understand the cost and long-term savings of owning a solar system.
Joshua Resneck, at Del Sol Energy in Brentwood, CA. He was born and raised in Berkeley and has experience in sales, training and strategy. He stated he picked the solar industry because, “I have always had more interests than I had time to pursue, and solar blends a lot of them together. Finance, construction, technology, people skills, rate schedules, compliance, etc.