A typical ebb and flow of business in the solar industry reflects that of the ebb and flow of excruciatingly high utility bills in the summer months. The hotter the sun beats down, the higher the utility bill – the more calls most solar shops throughout the United States will ring. Yet, as the warm summer days fade into cool afternoons and chilly nights, the number of phone calls begging for a quick solar installation begin to fade as well. Although there are often conversations with potential customers about solar, often the conversation begins with, “Well, now that my bill is dropping, I think we’ll wait to go solar next summer.” This short article is to explain why that strategy of going solar and waiting is not one that benefits a home or business owner.
One of the major reasons waiting until summer to go solar is problematic is wait times for install often triples during the summer months. This means, from the day you sign your contract with your local solar installer, it could potentially be another 6 weeks before there is an installation team on your roof installing panels. From that date, it could be up to another 4 weeks before the utility connects your solar installation up to the utility grid. That is nearly a 3-month process. Although we are quite lucky in California to have extended summers, the mentality of waiting for high bills means that by the time your system is installed, your utility bills will begin to drop, and you will have paid the screamingly high utility bills over the summer. To ensure you beat the high utility rates in the summer, installing in the Fall and Winter seasons guarantees your system will be installed and producing energy for you before the dog days of summer hit.
Rates Continue to Increase
Regardless of when you go solar, the local utilities continue to raise rates. Most families do enjoy lower utility bills in the winter, however, lower than summer bills does not necessarily mean you are paying less than you paid to the utility last winter. As a homeowner or business owner, the only way to reduce utility bills, without a clean energy option, is to reduce consumption. We cannot control the utility, however, as solar owners, we no longer are dependent on the utility and cannot be controlled by the rates they set.
Why Rent When You Can Own
One analogy that is often shared in the solar industry is, “Why rent your electricity when you can own it?” Just as a real estate professional might ask why a customer would rather pay rent to a landlord instead of investing in their own property, we might ask why someone would prefer to pay the utility instead of investing in a solar system that would allow them to own their electrical system. Granted, for most there are finance payments to make – however, paying off a loan still leads to owning their own electricity and not money wasted being paid to the utility. The question is, are you using your money to invest in your future and take control of your finances, or are you willing to just continue paying the utility.
The phrase might be a bit cliché within solar marketing campaigns, but owning a solar system is a path to freedom. It allows the system owner to utilize the energy they need without being constrained by costs that fluctuate. Owning a solar system is an investment in a property – again, allowing the homeowner to control for future costs, which are frequently unpredictable and constantly rising. Additionally, to ensure you have solar installed before the heat of the next summer hits, making the commitment to go solar in the cooler fall and winter months is the best path to energy efficiency, cost savings and finally taking control over the utility.