4 Reasons Timing Trumps Panel Price When it Comes to Solar Savings

Sabrina Lopez
February 16, 2017
3 min read

Millions of people across the country have figured out that adding solar panels to their homes is a great way to save money while helping the environment. But like any technology, it’s easy to assume that advances in panel design and manufacturing efficiencies will continue to drive prices even lower than they are today. So why not wait?

The truth is far more complex, and urgency is critical – especially now – for maximizing a solar investment. Calculating the ROI of a residential solar purchase requires careful examination of many variables. From time-sensitive federal and state tax incentives to the noodle-like rigidity of our local utility rates, maximizing return has much more to do with timing and your home’s physical location than panel price alone.

Here are four factors to consider when calculating how quickly your solar energy system will pay you back.

Use APS grandfathering to avoid future increases.

The Arizona Corporation Commission is currently considering several proposed APS rate changes that - if approved - will introduce new monthly demand fees into your energy bill. Saving money with solar on a demand-based rate plan requires several additional components that can easily increase the price of a rooftop solar energy system. The good news is that APS has promised that any customers who sign a residential solar contract on or before July 1st, 2017, will remain on the current non-demand rate plan for 20 years. So, if you’re an APS customer who wants maximum solar savings, now is the time to act.

Go solar in fall or winter for a quicker return.

Most Arizona utilities support some net metering program. Net metering allows homeowners who generate their solar electricity to feed excess power back into the grid in exchange for energy credits. Customers can use these energy credits to offset their bills in the hot spring and summer months. As such, installing solar in the fall or winter rather than waiting until spring is the best way to ensure you’ve banked sufficient credits to keep your summer bills low in the first year. This is particularly important this year, as policies are currently under consideration to reduce or even eliminate net metering.

Join SRP’s Advanced Inverter Study and Save up to $3,000

SRP is looking to understand better how solar customers use the electrical grid. As such, they’ve commissioned a study that gives new, qualifying customers access to a free inverter, a $250 demand manager rebate, and a $10 monthly bill credit when they go solar. It’s a total of $3000 in savings. There is no participation required, SRP simply wants to review your systems performance through 2018. After the study, qualifying customers can keep the free inverter. This program can also be combined with state and federal tax incentives for even more savings. Quantities are limited, so contact us directly to learn more.

Temporary tax incentives add up to big savings.

The Federal Incentive Tax Credit (ITC) can offset as much as 30% of a solar purchase. In addition, the state of Arizona offers a flat $1,000 tax credit for going solar. In 2016, congress voted to extend the federal ITC through 2019; after that, it dropped to 26% in 2020, and then 22% in 2021, before dropping permanently. We all know that policies can change with political agendas. Given the potential for significant savings, we highly recommend taking advantage of these programs while they’re available.

If you want to take advantage of any of these programs, we invite you to request a free assessment and estimate. You can also download our exclusive solar guide to explore more considerations when switching to clean solar energy.