The Seasons of Solar

By Derek Girling
HelioPower Solar Energy Consultant

Just like our earth’s annual trek around the sun, the solar energy business has its seasons as well. While not as clearly evident as bright flowers blooming after spring showers or leaves drying into brilliant autumn hues, our industry’s climate is driven by three strong forces – hot weather, rebates, and tax credits! Savvy consumers understand the seasonality of solar and plan accordingly to get the most financial benefit.

As a solar professional, all winter long I’m engaged in phone and email exchanges with interested homeowners exploring the feasibility of solar for their homes. We quickly determine if they are a good candidate for solar by analyzing their bills and their home’s solar exposure. Financial benefits are calculated and financing options outlined to meet their unique needs. Months go by with only their relatively small winter electricity bills to remind them of our discussions. Like clockwork, as soon as the temperature approaches t-shirt time and the AC charges on, they’re ready to move forward and schedule installation ASAP!

Rebate tier drops are another driving force in the solar year. As more and more homeowners go solar, rebates tiers drop accordingly. This is exactly how our California Solar Initiative was designed. Early adapters, enticed to jump in with big rebates, encouraged competition and drove prices down. Good solar sales representatives keep their customers informed as to when the rebate tier will drop and get their customers contracted before they lose thousands of rebate dollars. Typically during the last few weeks of a rebate tier hundreds of contracts are signed and bottlenecks are created with both utilities and installers attempting to deal with the huge surge in demand.

The end of the year also drives demand as homeowners try to get their systems installed and commissioned before December 31st. They’re anxious to capture thousands of dollars of tax credits! Our company starts spreading the word in late summer. If you want to be guaranteed an installation and inspection by the end of the year, then we better get you contracted by the end of September. This is the only way to insure that module availability, weather, permitting and HOA issues, or scheduling won’t delay your installation. Again hundreds of homeowners scramble at the end of the year resulting in additional unnecessary stress during the hectic holiday season.

Unfortunately, these scenarios repeat themselves each year throughout our growing industry. Reputable installers are scheduling scores of homes each week. Customers feel confident using them because they have proven track records, good pricing, and there’s a higher likelihood they’ll be around for decades to honor their system’s warranty in the event of a problem. Unless you’re willing to trust your home and your roof to an untested installation firm, postponing your decision may result in a long wait enduring the highest bills of the year or waiting another year for a tax credit.

Reach your decision just a few months earlier and you’ll save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in avoided energy costs, and have the added satisfaction of working with your first choice of contractor. The best time of the year to go solar is right now! Get your last year’s electricity bills together. Meet with a few good companies and use their expertise to help you decide on the right size system and best financing option. Then sign a contract and get scheduled!

Contact Derek Girling at [email protected]