The best time of year to start looking for solar.

 
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If you're thinking about switching to solar this year, you might need to start planning earlier than you think.  

solar typically can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months to go from design to installation.  It is important to plan well ahead of time to optimize your first year returns.

Yearly Solar Credit Reset

When you install solar, you sign a net metering agreement with your power company that allows you tell sell back your extra power and accumulate solar credits.

With solar, you want to accumulate most of your solar credits at the beginning of the credit cycle because your solar panels will produce more power during the summer months than the winter months.

Rocky Mountain Power resets your solar credits on April 1st every year.  To maximize your first year power production, it is recommended that you switch as close the the new solar credit cycle as possible.

The ideal time to get your solar installed is at the beginning of the solar credit cycle.

If you look at the chart below that details the amount of time the sun is shining, you can see that it starts to really increase in April and May.  As a homeowner getting solar, to see best results, you want to have as many of the peak months over 4 hours as possible.

 

Average Monthly Sun Hours

 

Sun Hours By Month

  • January: 137
  • February: 155
  • March: 227
  • April: 269
  • May: 329
  • June: 358
  • July: 377
  • August: 346
  • September: 306
  • October: 249
  • November: 171
  • December: 135

To get installed before the beginning of April,  you would want to start the process at the end of February at the latest.

The earlier you start thinking about solar, the better your first year returns will be.

How You Accumulate Solar Credits

Your solar panel system is meant to offset the amount of power that you have historically used.  

By checking how much power you’ve consumed in the past year,  a system is designed that can produce the same amount of power.

During the summer months the sun shines for much longer than in the winter and because of that, your solar panels will produce a majority of the power that is needed to power your home for the entire year during the summer.

During May, June, July, August, and September; your bill will be fully replaced, and your system will produce extra energy.  

During these 5 months, your system will produce a majority of the power needed for the year.

Because your system produces extra power in the summer, the credits that you accumulate compensate for the power that your system can’t produce during the winter.

When Should You Start Looking For A Solar Installer

While most people wait until the summer months to start their home projects, if you are thinking about solar and want to maximize your first year, you will want to start searching and getting quotes in January/ February.

Getting all the necessary permits, engineering, power agreements, and installation completed typically takes a couple of months at the minimum.  We typically get projects turned around in 2 months, but turnaround time is different from installer to installer.

To get your system installed in time to catch the summer months and maximize your summer production, start looking into solar as soon as possible.

How You Accumulate Solar Credits

Your solar panel system is meant to offset the amount of power that you have historically used.  

By checking how much power you’ve consumed in the past year,  a system is designed that can produce the same amount of power.

Key Takeaways

  • Start planning early
  • Solar takes 2-6 months to install (We typically take 2 months)
  • Your system will produce most of your power in the summer
  • The credits you accumulate in the summer will be used in the winter
  • Solar credits reset on April 1st
  • Get quotes in January/February to get installed in the spring/summer