Should you still wait for solar panels to get cheaper and more efficient? Or is it the right time now to have a solar power system in your home or building so that you can start benefiting from the long-term savings?
Should I get solar panels now or wait for something better?
Here in Australia where we get a lot of sunlight, it’s now possible for a solar system to offset up to 70% of your home’s energy use. This can translate to up to $2,000 of total annual savings (plus you take advantage of free energy from the sun). Although the savings in your power bills still depend on the type of system installed and its efficiency, still the savings is significant and can accumulate through the years (where solar panels can last up to 30 years). In other words, if you have a solar system now you can immediately start saving money and realise the benefits early on.
It’s true that solar panels and related equipment are getting better and more efficient. Advances in material science and engineering can result in solar power systems with efficiencies much greater than the current maximum of 20 per cent. However, it will still take years and decades for them to be fully developed and deployed on a large scale. We still have to wait for years before those more modern systems reach the market.
Even with those issues and disadvantages about the low efficiency of solar equipment and upfront costs, still here in Australia there are now more than 2.77 million installations of small-scale solar power systems (source: Clean Energy Regulator Australia). This technology has already reached mass adoption, which then results in prices steadily coming down because of the further increase in mass production and economies of scale.
Prices are expected to get even lower but the decrease might get thinner through the years (which becomes negligible such as when you plan to have a solar power system installed next year). In other words, it could be better to have a system this year than to wait for negligible upfront savings the following year.
It’s the perfect time now to have a solar power system in your home or building so that you can immediately gain energy savings. Although the upfront costs could reach $3,500 dollars or a lot more, the payback time could just be a few years (especially if you have the system installed by a team of experienced professionals). Your energy savings will still depend heavily on the quality of the system as well as the integrity of the overall installation.