Admit it: you’ve been thinking of going solar, you’ve been wanting to go solar, you’ve been talking to your friends about going solar, you’ve even been researching going solar. But you still haven’t done it…yet. Don’t worry, you are FAR from alone. It’s pretty typical for humans to procrastinate doing things they know they should do, and want to do, but don’t, because it’s just easier not to.
Let’s break down the psychology behind your reluctance. Understanding the why and why not might help you finally follow through. Then you’ll be one of the million+ smart Americans who are saving money and the planet with solar power, and you can move on to procrastinating about the next thing you should do.
Here are the top 5 reasons you haven’t gone solar YET:
1. You assume it’s too expensive.
The average cost for a residential system is currently $3-5 per watt. That means the average 5-kW residential system will cost $15,000-$25,000, prior to tax credits or incentives. Certainly not cheap, but given that the average American family of four spends close to $5,000 a year on vacations, it might make you think twice about your priorities.
In New Mexico, costs have actually decreased by 43% over the past five years. With the option to lease your solar system, avoiding any upfront costs, or the option to finance your system over time through a solar loan, not to mention a 30% federal tax credit to significantly offset out-of-pocket expenses, going solar is way more affordable than you think.
2. You’re waiting for the cost to drop.
Yes, it’s true that solar costs have steadily decreased over time. In fact, they’ve gone down by around 70% since 2010. Assuming that this trend continues, you could maybe save a few hundred bucks on your installation by waiting a year or two.
However, remember that every year you delay is another year that you miss out on serious solar savings (AKA, your “opportunity cost”) since you’ll be stuck paying your electric bill every month. The average home in the U.S. spends about $1,200 a year on electricity and prices have risen almost 9% on average in the last 10 years. In 2019, PNM raised prices by 14.5% for most electric consumers in New Mexico in order to help fund the development of more solar plants to meet their commitment to the Public Regulation Commission.
Additionally, the 30% federal solar tax credit is set to step-down to 26% next year, then 22% in 2021 and then 0% by 2022. So, don’t snooze and lose out on major installation cost savings this year!
3. You’re waiting for the next, best trend in solar technology.
Surely, solar technology will only get better in the future so why not wait? This is a reasonable and common question, but the reality is that solar technology has been around since the 1800s! While solar panel efficiency and durability have significantly improved since its creation in 1954, the technology has already matured to the point where any additional leaps are highly unlikely.
The best solar panels currently available can reach around 23 percent efficiency (meaning they’re capable of converting 23 percent of the sun’s impact into electricity), but the average efficiency of solar panels falls between the 15 to 18 percent range. While this is quite a bit more than the 1 percent efficiency of the original panels, the increase in efficiency has been relatively slow over the course of 65 years.
We’ve already mentioned the Opportunity Cost of waiting and with future technology innovations unknown, it makes sense to take advantage of what you do know.
4. You worry about the maintenance of a solar panel system.
Solar panel systems are built to last and require minimal maintenance over their lifetime, which can span 25 years or more. In the event that something does go wrong, your system components have very long warranties that would cover replacement and repair costs. If you lease your solar panel system, repairs and maintenance are the leasing company’s responsibility, not yours.
Just like with most major purchases today, such as cars and appliances, solar panel systems feature sophisticated technology and deserve routine maintenance for maximum performance. Harsh weather and time can weaken your system, but an annual checkup and cleaning can easily avoid that.
The average annual cost of solar maintenance is around $150. You could DIY, but with the time it will take to research what to do and how to do it, plus the risk of climbing onto the roof, it’s probably not worth it.
5. You don’t know which solar company to choose.
True, there are more and more companies out there selling solar. So which one is the best? Well, it’s hard to say since “best” means different things to different people. Does best mean cheapest? Most well-known? The one your neighbor used?
There are countless websites out there to help you research and compare solar installation companies in your area. Beware that most of them are tied to a particular company and designed to drive you to their website. Solar companies are also spending a ton of money on social media ads trying to lure you with false claims about free installation, tax credits and state rebates.
Problem is that too many choices and over-analysis often lead to paralysis and doing nothing. Ultimately, choosing any solar company you trust in your gut and actually following through with installing your solar system is the best bet.
Final tips if you are considering going solar:
- You are your own worst enemy—don’t let procrastination and easy excuses delay you from saving more money by starting your project TODAY.
- Solar panel technology today is not much different than it was over 60 years ago. Trust that the panels you install will be good enough.
- Stop shopping around for the “best” solar company and as Nike says: Just do it. Don’t waste more time second-guessing when you could already be saving money!
- At SunState Solar, we cut through all the noise and too-good-to-be-true claims to make going solar simple and easy. Schedule your free consultation today!