Should I wait?
Everyone likes the idea of saving money, particularly on something as necessary as electricity. However,
since the prices of solar panels historically came down, does it make sense to wait until they get even
lower? When is the best time to install a solar system?
The answer depends on your estimation of the relative cost decreases compared to the cost of not buying
now. That is, will the savings from reduced solar panel costs, be more or less than the cost of missing
out on the savings available now?
If you live in California, where electric rates are the third highest in the country*, it is almost
always better to install solar as soon as you can. The cost of solar panels has been
decreasing about 3% per year, while the cost of buying electricity from PG&E has been increasing at a
rate about double that, and is likely to increase. Compounding the reason to install now is that you
will likely get an immediate 20% reduction in your bill. You have a big head start, and the forecast for
electric cost increases is significant. In order to pay for the wildfires and infrastructure updates,
utility bills are expected to greatly outpace the improvements in solar panel costs.
Installing now, starting the savings, and protection against future electricity cost increases almost
always makes more sense than hoping solar panel costs will plummet, in California.
What if I plan to sell my property soon?
If you plan to sell, you should install solar now. The reduction in your electric bill will be
capitalized immediately by a buyer, so you will reap the full advantage of the system’s value up front.
For example, if SolarPorts installs a system to offset a $5,000 per month electric bill, you pay nothing
up front and your property’s value will increase by about $1,200,000 using a 5% capitalization rate. [
$5,000 x 12 months / .05 = $1,200,000 ]