The Best Time Of Year To Install Solar Panels

Before you delve into the world of solar energy, there are a few things you should know. Solar panels, also called photovoltaic panels (or PV panels, according are flat, rooftop mounted gizmos that absorb and collect power from the sun. That power is then transformed into energy that runs your home. It's pretty amazing to think that your home could be powered by a big ball of gas burning millions of miles away.

There's a lot that goes into actually acquiring PV panels. You need to take into consideration that this is a long-term investment, which tends to be pricey (though some state and federal agencies do offer solar incentives). There are also permits and approvals that need to be signed, sealed, and delivered to your local government, as well as checking in on what solar rates (called tiers, per Aurora Solar) your utility company offers.

One of the most important things to think about when it comes to solar panels, however, is the time of year you'd like your install to take place, and while it might seem like an obvious answer, there's more to it than meets the eye.

Weather plays a big part

When installing solar panels, you may want to plan for a fall installation. Fall, winter, and spring all have shorter wait times because they're considered off seasons (and, as a result, also tend to have better rates, per Paradise Energy Solutions), though spring and winter may face installation challenges due to rain and/or snow storms. Also, because daylight hours are limited during the winter and spring months, it means less sunlight, which means less energy is being banked.

Given these factors, fall is considered to be an optimal time to install solar panels on your home because there's still ample sunlight during the day, which means you're able to store more energy for future use. Further, it's the season riding the coattails of summer, so rates are typically lower and discounts are more likely, the installation waiting time is significantly less, and the weather is optimal for installation.

It's not just about timing

When it comes to installing solar panels and the best time of the year to do so, it also matters where you live. For example, places that are sunny year-round and tend not to have extreme weather (think California and Hawaii), they can get away with PV-panel installations at any time of the year. If you're living in a place that experiences severe winter storms, tornados, or hurricanes, however, then this type of thinking need not apply.

It all comes down to using your better judgment and knowing what the installation process entails. Besides the paperwork and possible weather-related prep work (like rooftop snow removal), you need to make sure your roof can actually sustain PV paneling, as explains in its homeowner's guide. Coincidentally, the best time of year to give your roof an overhaul is also in the fall. So be sure to take this into consideration before scheduling your PV install.