Why is energy efficiency first before going solar?
Whether you are a business or a home-owner interested in going solar; it is worth it to consider improving the energy efficiency of your home or business. Energy efficiency is a great concept that helps you to reduce energy wastage resulting from use of old equipment or even some behavioral practices that allow for energy leaks from your home or business causing poor energy performance.
Energy inefficiencies may include old equipment that make your house leak energy for instance in your heating and cooling processes or energy leaks resulting from lack of proper sealing and insulation. You may also be using incandescent bulbs or old inefficient appliances that are not ENERGY Star rated.
Therefore, if you decide to go solar with such an energy profile for your house or business, you will incur high upfront costs that are not worth it as you may end up with an extra large system that only generates power to be leaked in inefficient processes. The sizing of your solar PV system will indeed not be the right system for you, because there are various losses within your building. For instance, your house may be operating at 80% energy efficiency; while the 20% is getting lost due to inefficient equipment or lack of proper insulation in your house. You might consider to conduct a simple energy audit to determine your actual losses and perhaps invest money in purchasing new ENERGY star rated appliances or come up with a great energy policy for your business if you are business etc.
You may also consider to know your energy efficiency status by doing it your yourself using some online simple tools or by just contacting an energy auditor that can guide you and provide you with professional advice regarding your energy efficiency situation and the energy efficiency measures you need to take. However, if you need quick numbers regarding your energy efficiency status, utility companies such as Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for instance, provide free online tools (Do-it-yourself FREE energy assessment) for small and medium business customers to audit their energy use themselves by using the Business Energy Checkup on pge.com. Homeowners can also find some free online tools like the https://engage.energysavvy.com where they take a free survey to get a home energy report that tells them how much they can save by implementing some recommended energy efficiency measures.
Once you have figured out your energy efficiency measures and what needs to be taken care of, going solar is another energy management concept because it will help you save even more depending on your energy situation. Implementing your energy efficiency measures may require you to make an investment because you might be required to switch all your incandescent bulbs to CFLS or LEDs or replace old inefficient appliances with ENERGY Star products, but it is worthwhile considering your long-term reduced energy costs and the resulting immediate energy savings that translate to lower energy bills and especially if you are high consumer of energy.
Going solar might also be a huge investment depending on the size to be implemented but in the long-term you will appreciate the fact that you may reduce your energy bill significantly because when you invest in buying solar panels, once they pay themselves off then you will be saving the percentage reduction of your total energy bill. This could range between 25% to 100% of your total energy bill depending on the arrangement or mode of payment you used to pay off your system. Some free solar panel calculators from online solar marketplaces like PickMySolar can be a great place to calculate your energy savings from going solar.
In addition, there are various options of solar financing including cash, loan, leasing and solar PPA and of these four options of paying for your system; the cash option will definitely have a better financial return because you will save more money in the long-term compared to the other three options. However, if you don’t want a solar PV system as soon as possible and you prefer to put no money down to go solar, then you could try going solar with solar PPA or solar lease and you may still reduce your monthly energy bill slightly to what you are currently paying for power.
To get started with the solar process and get more professional advice about your energy efficiency situation and going solar; PickMySolar empowers communities to adopt sustainable technologies through transparency and choice. With PickMySolar you can compare solar companies and unlock what is known as HassleFreeSolar. Click here to get started today.