Why You Should Get a Solar Estimate Every Six Months

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Even if you have previously had a solar estimate, and did not act because it was just not penciling out for you, you should get a new estimate, if it was six months ago or more. At that time, given those variables, that was the situation. But things are very fluid in the solar world. Some prices are dramatically lower now. So many things are changing. You should not assume that the price you got six months ago holds true today.

Some companies now have access to solar panels that have had very steep price cuts.

You should get an estimate from a different company too, for another reason if your first didn’t pencil out back then. Sales people are human. Some may have made a snap judgment rather than spend a lot of time on an estimate because your needs are too low, simply because the cost-benefit for the sales person didn’t pencil out when there were so many large systems they could sign up instead in the same time.


Some solar companies compensate their sales force in such a way as to discourage them from installing the small systems that frugal energy users  would get by with. It is less profitable getting guys up on a tiny or shaded roof to put in a small system. It is opportunity lost for bigger sales for them, while they are arguing at city hall for your measly permit.

But many solar sales-people have mined the “low-hanging fruit” of larger systems (that are most profitable to them) and are now more willing to look seriously at small systems, since the math has changed.

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Permitting and paperwork is the most time-consuming part of solar, and it takes them the same time to get the permits for a huge roof as a tiny one. Joining a neighborhood group discount with 1BOG changes that equation, by making the visit to city hall more like a production-line for installers.

But also you should also get new estimates even if 1 BOG is not in your area, because so many things are changing so fast in the solar world now. Just some of the changes in the last year that will change estimates every six months are that prices have bottomed out, laws have changed.

If your solar estimate is over six months old, it is merely a historical record of how the cost/benefit worked out then,  for that installation company. Get another now.

Solar estimates are always free, and you are the only one to miss out on huge savings when you assume your estimate is a fixed, immutable number. It isn’t.

Image: LEED home on Bainbridge Island

Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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