Why You Should Start with Energy Efficiency Before Going Solar

Why you should start with energy efficiency before going solar

Energy efficiency is a way of using all kinds of  energies in order to reduce the energy consumption. Energy efficiency is related to adopting green energy technologies. The goal of energy efficiency is saving costs both in energy production and energy consumption. As a rule reducing energy use is also seen as a solution to the problem of reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases.

If you are planning to buy a photovoltaic system, you are supposed to start with increasing energy efficiency of your home or office.

Ok, why is energy efficiency important?

Simply because saving energy is less expensive than producing energy. By improving energy efficiency the cost of the photovoltaic system you are going to install will be reduced.

Reducing electrical consumption can be done in a variety of ways; a specific approach however is to be considered. You should view your home as an energy system comprising various parts related to each other, with each part contributing to the overall efficiency.

The more energy you need in your home of office, the more energy has to be generated by the solar system. This means that to meet your daily electricity needs, you have to buy a large and expensive system in regard to both the initial and maintenance costs. This is valid especially for off-grid systems most of which are battery-based. It should be noted that cost of a battery bank is between 25% and 50% of the total system cost. The higher your daily electrical consumption, the larger and costlier battery you needs which is not only harder to maintain but has to be replaced every five years.

In simple words, achieving energy efficiency means eliminating all the devices comprising a great part of your electricity bill. ‘Eliminating’ can be done in three possible ways:

–      Stop using some of them – also known as ‘phantom loads’ or all devices with substantial stand-by consumption

–      Limit their daily use

–      Find a less expensive alternative.

The last option means to find a substitute operating on alternative energy, for example replacing your electrical heater by a propane one. Certainly it also means replacing all the incandescent lamps in your home with fluorescent ones thus providing more light at much less power consumption.

You can also do the following specific  steps to improve energy efficiency of your home or office as well:

  •  Replace incandescent light bulbs (where most of the energy used turns into heat rather than light) with compact fluorescent ones
  • Turn off all stand-by loads (a.k.a. phantom loads), such as DVDs, TV sets and computers, when they are not in use
  • Upgrade your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Replace your old refrigerator and freezer with new, high-efficiency models (either energy-efficient or propane ones)
  • Replace high energy consumption loads (high-wattage electric stoves, clothes dryers, water heaters, heating appliances) with their propane or natural gas alternative versions. Certainly a solar thermal water heating system is a perfect option
  • Replace electrical air-conditioning appliances with evaporating cooling systems
  • Make an external and/or an internal isolation of your home
  • Utilize your large electrical loads (pool pumps, electrical mills, etc.) during off-peak hours
  • Install solar water heaters and summer shadings
  • Utilize devices with timers and other home automation systems
  •  If you live in the U.S., when shopping for electrical appliances, look for devices labeled with Energy Star® label

Click Here to discover more about energy efficiency and its impact on price and performance on your solar panel system and how to get the most efficient affordable safe solar power system for your home or business.


You also may like: Uses of Solar Energy or our free definitive guide to solar power systems.

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Lacho Pop, MSE, holds a Master's Degree in Electronics and Automatics. He has more than 15 years of experience in the design and implementation of various sophisticated electronic, solar power, and telecommunication systems.  He authored and co-authored several practical solar books in the field of solar power and solar photovoltaics. All the books were well-received by the public. You can discover more about his bestselling solar books on Amazon on his profile page here: Lacho Pop, MSE Profile