Why installing solar in the winter is worth it

Updated

Two solar professionals installing solar panels on a roof
Image source: Business Insider

Fall and winter are two excellent times of year to install solar panels. After speaking with a solar installer, you may find yourself waiting a few months for your panels to be installed. If you're starting to fret over the summer months when electric bills tend to climb, you may be chomping at the bit to have your solar panels installed right away to cut costs.

If you have your solar panels installed in the winter instead, when the sun sets earlier and the days are colder, your panels will be ready to provide power during the peak solar-producing summer months.

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Not only is installing solar panels in the winter attractive to installers due to a lack of incoming jobs, but you can also save money on installation costs.

With many other benefits ahead, read on to find out why cold weather is solar weather.

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    Top three benefits of going solar during the winter

    Installing solar panels in the winter months offers several benefits. We’ve compiled the top three reasons to go solar in preparation for sunny summertime.

    Quick installation for a reasonable cost

    As is true with many construction industry jobs, you can get save on the cost of a project if you wait until the slow season for installation. Installers would rather have a job in the winter that pays less than no job at all.

    Fall and winter are traditionally a less likely time for people to install solar panels because the sun hardly ever shines. With no air conditioner blasting, electricity bills are lower than normal.

    Installers do not publicly announce lower installation rates for winter, but if you choose to install your solar panels in the colder months, you can try to negotiate for a lower price. Additionally, since the season is generally slower, you might not need to wait for months to get the permits and conquer the hurdles of installation.

    Install solar in the winter and be ready for summer

    As mentioned, most of the time people's interest in solar peaks in the summer months because of high energy bills and long, sunny days. But if you inquire about solar in June, chances are your solar system will not be up and running until the end of summer or fall.

    If you're planning on holding off on installing solar until the summer, we'd advise against it. We highly recommend installing solar panels in late fall or early winter to ensure your home, and your wallet, are set to thrive in summer when the AC is blasting. You can get on the install schedule sooner and have your panels set up by the time spring begins to show some more sunlight.

    The winter months will indeed produce less solar energy, but they can still produce power even on cloudy or cold days. If your home is heated by gas and you do not need electricity for heat, you might even produce excess energy that can be credited to your account. This applies only if you have access to net metering, but this credit can then be used for summer months when electricity bills are traditionally higher.

    Opportunity cost for not going solar

    Snow on solar panels atop a residential roof

    What is an opportunity cost?

    An opportunity cost is a way to contextualize what you miss out on if you choose an alternative power source – in this case, choosing to not install solar panels. If you wait to install solar in the summer, you could lose out on savings and incentives. Solar incentives are constantly being removed or altered to be less financially beneficial.

    To lock in rates, there is no better time to install solar in order to take full advantage of incentives like net metering or federal and state tax incentives.

    Additionally, the earlier you go solar, the sooner you can reach the break-even point on your investment. The typical break-even point with solar panels is 9-12 years. Waiting a few months when you can install solar in the winter will make this timeline longer.

    Winter is a great time to install solar panels

    It is always a good time to install solar. But, if you decide to install solar in the winter, you will be ready for the next summer to reap all of the benefits that your solar panels have to offer. 

    We would not recommend inquiring about solar early in the year and holding off to install until the following winter, though. The sooner the panels are on your roof, the sooner you can save.

    Winter installations can be less expensive, faster, and get you set up for solar savings in no time at all.

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    Key takeaways

    • Installing solar in the fall or winter can cost less money because it is a traditionally less busy time for installers.
    • If you install in the winter, your panels will be up in time to take advantage of every single sunny summer day.
    • The sooner you install solar, the sooner you start saving and you will lock in the currently available solar incentives.
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Ana Almerini

    Web Content Specialist

    Ana is a content specialist at SolarReviews. She uses her experience in marketing and knowledge from her master's in climate communications to research and review the solar industry.

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