Autumn/Winter Purchase, Springtime Sun: The Ideal Timing for Solar Panel Installations

In today’s world, the shift towards eco-living is more than just a trend; it’s a necessity. As we face the undeniable impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, each step we take towards a sustainable lifestyle makes a difference. One of the most significant strides in this direction is harnessing the power of the sun through solar panels. Not only do they reduce our carbon footprint which is becoming more and more important in the UK, but they also offer a renewable source of energy, cutting down on fossil fuel consumption, energy bills and promoting a cleaner, greener planet.

However, as with any significant home improvement project, timing is crucial. While the benefits of solar panels are clear, many homeowners grapple with a fundamental question: “When is the best time to install them?” and “Why is it worth to think about it earlier than in spring?”. This article will explain why the autumn and winter are the best seasons to purchase solar panels and delve into the reasons behind this recommendation.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TIMING IN SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION

When considering a transition to solar energy, understanding the significance of timing can’t be overstated. Here’s why:

Maximising Energy Capture

Solar panels, by design, harness the sun’s energy. The efficiency of this energy capture can be influenced by various factors, including the angle of sunlight, duration of daylight, and weather conditions. Installing your panels at the right time ensures they are primed to capture the maximum amount of sunlight when it’s most abundant, translating to more power and better efficiency for the full upcoming season of better weather.

Cost-Effectiveness

Like any market, the demand for solar panel installations can fluctuate throughout the year. There are periods when installers are busier, potentially leading to higher installation costs. By choosing a less hectic season, you might benefit from reduced prices and more availability, ensuring a smoother and potentially more affordable installation process.

solar panels on the roof

Ensuring Readiness for Peak Seasons

In many regions, there are specific times of the year when energy consumption spikes, often due to heating in the winter or cooling in the summer. By strategically timing your installation, you can ensure your solar panels are operational and optimised right when you need them most, reducing reliance on the grid during these peak periods and leading to substantial savings.

In essence, while solar panels are a valuable addition to any home at any time of the year, strategic timing can enhance their benefits from the first months of using them, making the transition to solar energy even more rewarding.

UNDERSTANDING SOLAR ENERGY PATTERNS IN THE UK

The UK, with its unique geographical location and maritime climate, experiences distinct solar energy patterns. Let’s explore how these patterns manifest and their implications for solar energy generation:

Seasonal Variations in the UK

The UK, being in the Northern Hemisphere, witnesses longer days with more direct sunlight during the summer months, particularly from late May to late July. Conversely, winter, especially from November to January, brings shorter days with less direct sunlight. This seasonal variation means that solar panels in the UK will naturally produce more energy in the summer months compared to the winter.

home with solar panels solar pv bird's eye view

Peak Sunlight Hours in the UK

The concept of peak sunlight hours remains consistent worldwide, but the actual number of these hours varies based on location. In the UK, the number of peak sunlight hours can be limited, especially during the winter months. However, during the height of summer, especially in southern parts of the UK, there can be a substantial increase in these peak hours. It’s essential to harness these hours effectively to maximise solar energy generation.

One unique challenge in the UK is its frequent cloud cover. While solar panels can still generate energy on cloudy days, their efficiency is reduced. However, modern solar panels are becoming increasingly efficient at harnessing diffused sunlight, which is prevalent on overcast days.

WHY BUYING YOUR SOLAR PANELS IN THE COLDER MONTHS CAN BE A GREAT IDEA?

Many people associate solar panels with sun-drenched days of summer, but there’s a compelling case to make this purchase in winter. Let’s explore why setting up your solar panels during the colder months might just be a brilliant move.

Total Process Time

The whole process from signing the contract to the first day of using the installation can take up to 3 months. Starting, for example, in November, we can be sure that the installation will be completed before the arrival of spring. Additionally, if you are keen to own stronger installations (with an inverter power greater than 3.68kWp in a single-phase system, or above 11.04kWp in three-phase systems) a G99 application is required.

Taking into account a 12-week wait for DNO Approval, starting the process in the autumn/winter period, one can expect the administrative procedure to be completed at the beginning of the new year and be ready to capture the sun’s energy as soon as spring arrives. This approach means you won’t miss a single day of optimal solar generation when the longer, sunnier days return. Also, during peak installation periods, the wait for DNO approval takes longer than in the off-peak autumn and winter months.

home with solar panels solar pv bird's eye view

Avoiding the Spring Rush

Many homeowners recognise autumn/winter as an ideal time for buying solar panel. By choosing to install in the off-peak seasons, you might sidestep the busier periods, potentially leading to quicker installation times and more flexible scheduling. Traditionally, summer witnesses a surge in solar installations.

Prices in the New Year

Prices usually increase after the New Year. By deciding to purchase the system by the end of the year, you can take advantage of the lower prices that are current this year. By depositing 10%-20% at the end of the year, you retain the guarantee of the current price for the coming year, which can bring savings.

Immediate Benefits with Storage Systems

If you’re considering integrating a storage system with your solar panels, the autumn-winter installation offers immediate perks. You can charge your battery storage during the night with cheaper off-peak electricity rates (if you pick particular tariff with your energy provider). 

During the day, instead of drawing expensive electricity from the grid, you can utilise the energy stored in your battery. This is particularly beneficial during the shorter daylight hours of winter when solar production might be less optimal.

Solar energy is undeniably the future of sustainable living, and the timing of your transition can significantly influence the benefits you reap. From capitalising on off-peak tariff rates and avoiding installation rushes to ensuring readiness for peak seasons, the colder months offer a strategic edge. 

Are you ready to harness the power of the sun and make a sustainable change? Every home and situation is distinct, and we’re here to guide you through the best choices for your unique needs. Reach out to us for personalised advice on solar panel installation tailored to your specific location and requirements. Let’s work together to light up your eco-friendly future! Just click the button below and fill out the form!

READY TO HARNESS THE POWER OF THE SUN?

Schedule a free consultation to explore the best solar solutions for your home!