Four years ago, San Diego Unified unveiled plans for 80 solar installments around the district. Only about half were ever built, and the district has reaped less savings than it expected as a result. Despite its struggles with solar so far, the district is preparing to ramp up its solar footprint with a major investment of bond funds.

For now, there’s only one certainty: Get solar panels now and you’ll have a better sense of how much you’ll save and how long it’ll take to recover the cost of going solar with energy bill savings. Wait and you may not get a bad deal, but it might not be as good as what’s on the table now.

It’s true that a large enough solar panel system will produce as much or even more power than you need, and can offset your SDG&E bills. But you’ll need more than just solar panels to actually cut the cord. “The price of independence is very high,” says one solar company leader.