Today, the price of solar PV panels has declined by 99% since 1977. As a result, many are switching to save energy and money.
You might wonder how you could save energy and money around your home.
Well, we’re here to help! From solar panels to energy-efficient appliances, there are various options you won’t want to miss. Read this guide on how you can conserve energy and save money simultaneously.
1. Save Money by Changing Your Daily Habits
Save energy at home by turning off lights and appliances when they’re not in use. Perform household tasks manually whenever possible. These could include washing dishes by hand, hand-drying clothes, etc.
Use your air conditioner less, the same for your heat in the winter. Heating and cooling are one of the largest factors in energy costs.
2. Use a Smart Thermostat
Save money by having a programmable thermostat. You can set it to turn off cooling or heating when you’re asleep or away.
They connect with an app on your phone to give you ease of use. You’ll also be able to control it from anywhere.
Even if you forget to make adjustments, since it’s a smart thermostat, it’ll often remember what you changed it to. You’ll also be able to access various reports, including long-term and short-term energy consumption. Compare it to past reports to see ways to save electricity.
3. Reduce the Water Heater
Reduce the water heater to save money. It could also reduce mineral buildup in your pipes.
If your dishwasher has a heat booster, the dishes might not get as clean. Those with respiratory disease or a suppressed immune system might need it to stay at 140 degrees.
4. Check Your Windows
One of the top ways to save money is to replace old windows. You’ll want to find and fix drafts if that’s not an option.
Use caulk on any gaps that are less than one-quarter of an inch on windows. Only caulk the non-movable parts, such as the trim and frame.
You’ll save money on utilities by doing this. Ensure that the window treatment you choose matches the light the window receives.
Consider blackout curtains in the winter to keep your home cooler. They can reduce heat gains and save you money. Another option is cellular shades and blinds.
5. Switch Lightbulbs
Make the switch to LED lightbulbs. They have a long life span and consume the least amount of power. Use motion controls or timers for rooms, so the lights turn off automatically. Dimmer switches are another great option.
6. Replace Appliances
Check appliances to see if they need replacing. Most new appliances will last for 10 years.
Replace air conditioners, dryers, washing machines, and refrigerators first. You’ll wind up using less detergent, energy, and water. Some local utility companies will offer you a rebate.
7. Insulate Your Home
One of the top ways to save money is by sealing and insulating your home. It could reduce utility bills and improve indoor air quality. First, check for leaks.
Some common areas might include:
- Fireplace dampers
- Switch plates
- Mail slots
- Electrical receptacles
- Window frames
- Air Conditioners
- Attic hatches
- And more
Air leaks are the most common in the attic. Seal small holes.
Look for areas where the insulation is darkened. In cooler climates, you might see frosty areas in the insulation.
In warmer months, you could see water staining the areas. Use caulk to seal the openings around electrical wires and vent pipes.
Insulation should cover the area after the caulk dries. Use weatherstripping to seal up the attic access panel. You can cut a piece of fiberglass or foam board insulation and glue it to the back of the attic access panel.
8. Install Solar Panels
Solar panel installers can go over how solar panels can save you energy and money. Solar power is clean and renewable energy.
It doesn’t use pollution or fuel. It’s a great way to slash your electricity bill and help the environment.
You don’t have to buy electricity from the centralized grid either. Once it’s set up, you’ll enjoy free energy making it worth it. Solar panels also increase the property value of your home.
Many homeowners enjoy that they can sell excess energy back to the grid. That means you’ll be able to make energy for yourself while potentially making money. Many solar panels come with a performance guarantee as well.
9. Install Ceiling Fans
Use ceiling fans throughout your home. Have them spin counterclockwise in the summer to pull hot air up to the ceiling away from the living area. In the winter, have it go opposite, blowing the hot air downward.
10. Conserve Water
Consider low-flow fixtures for your toilet, faucet, and shower. Fix toilets that leak, faucets that drip, etc. Don’t keep water running while brushing your teeth.
11. Change Filters
Routinely empty or change filters on your furnace. Many companies recommend doing this monthly or quarterly to keep it performing at its best. Empty the lint filter in your dryer whenever you use it.
12. Update Your Landscaping
Plant trees since they could help with heating and cooling costs. In the summer, they provide shade to keep your home cool. In the winter months, they’ll provide a wind break.
Plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your home. You’ll want them to shade surfaces such as patios and driveways.
They’ll lose their leaves in the winter allowing the sun to warm your home. Plant evergreen trees on the north side of your home to shield it from cold winds each season.
13. Use the Cold Setting on Your Washer
Use cold water to wash your items. Heating water uses up a lot of energy.
You could also use a low-flow shower head to save energy too. Look for ones that have the EPA’s WaterSense certification. These are independently tested to ensure they use water pressure while reducing your hot water use.
14. Use Cloth Napkins
Use rags and cloth napkins instead of paper towels. Using dish towels or cloth napkins instead of paper towels is much more cost-effective.
You could consider cellulose sponge cloths that can be reused. Some are even biodegradable, cutting down on your carbon footprint.
15. Perform Regular Maintenance
Perform regular maintenance on appliances. When an appliance runs less efficiently, it uses more energy. Have your HVAC system inspected and tuned each year.
Change the filters as well. Dryers and refrigerators must be well maintained; they’ll cost more without them. Clean the vent hose of the dryer lint trap whenever possible.
16. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
Consider upgrading to energy-efficient appliances whenever possible. This can lead to huge savings over time. Even if you replace the HVAC system, it could save money and energy compared to the old unit.
17. Plug Into Power Strips
Electronics use tons of energy when they’re in standby mode or turned off. Use power strips to turn electronics off and save on energy.
Vampire loads consume energy even when devices are in sleep mode. This could be your laptop, TV, cable box, etc.
Use a smart power strip whenever possible. Remember that a traditional power strip uses energy when it’s plugged in.
Smart power strips can save energy and cut off power. They can detect when a device is in standby mode.
18. Stop Heat From Escaping Your Home
Insulation will help to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. To ensure that you have the right amount of insulation, consider hiring an insulation professional. They’ll install additional layers as necessary to ensure it’s energy efficient.
19. Watch Appliance Usage
Reduce appliance usage by using the automatic sensor to turn off the dryer when clothes are dry. Only wash full loads of dishes and clothes. Use sensors to turn off lights and ceiling fans.
Consider investing in an energy-efficient heat pump. You could earn a rebate when you install and buy an energy-efficient heating and cooling system.
Understanding the Various Ways To Save Energy and Money
After exploring this guide, it should be clear how you can save energy and money throughout your home. Make a plan and identify what you can change to get started.
Are you dreaming of having high-quality solar panels in your home and finally not relying on the centralized grid? Not only will you be helping the earth by conserving energy, but you’ll save money on your power bill and potentially make money by selling extra energy.
Get your solar energy estimate today! If you have any questions along the way, we’re happy to help.
How efficient are solar panels: the short answer
Different solar panel types come with different efficiency ratings, but most modern options fall anywhere between 13 and just about 25%.
Of course, the higher the efficiency rating, the higher the price tag as well. So, the goal is to just get the most efficient solar panel type for your budget instead of just shooting for the most efficient one out of all available options.
But what exactly are the options available to you? Let’s take a look at the most common ones:
Monocrystalline solar panels
Boasting an efficiency rating of around 20%—thanks to being manufactured using a single piece of pure silicon—monocrystalline solar panels are one of the most efficient options you have today.
But that’s not all they’re known for. They’re also highly regarded for their superior durability, making them perfect for homes located in areas with harsh weather conditions.
Unfortunately, these benefits all come at a price—literally. You see, monocrystalline panels are more expensive than most other options primarily because they are made using a single piece of pure silicon. Given the way they are manufactured, up to 50% of each silicon crystal used ends up wasted.
Polycrystalline solar panels
Slightly less efficient than their monocrystalline panels at about 15-17%, polycrystalline solar panels are perfect for you if you’re looking for a less expensive yet equally durable option.
These panels are manufactured using the exact same material as monocrystalline ones. The only difference is that instead of being made with just one crystal, they’re made using several cut up pieces. This means significantly less crystal gets wasted during manufacturing, which is exactly why they don’t cost as much.
PERC solar panels
Short for passive emitter and rear cell, PERC solar panels are pretty much the same as monocrystalline and polycrystalline ones in terms of the primary material used. The biggest difference is that they have an extra passivation layer behind their main cell, which does three simple things:
- Reflect sunlight back to the main cell, increasing the total amount that gets absorbed by the panel
- Resist the natural propensity of electrons to regroup, allowing them to flow more freely in the system
- Allow each panel to absorb higher wavelengths of light, preventing the back sheet from heating up and the panel’s efficiency from going down
The result is about a 5% increase in the overall efficiency of each panel—but that’s not all PERC panels have going for them. Aside from their top-notch efficiency, they’re also smaller than most other solar panel types, making them great for homes with limited roof space.
And, to top it all off, they also don’t cost significantly more than monocrystalline panels to produce, so they also generally don’t cost significantly more to acquire. So, if you’re already looking at getting the former, then you might want to consider spending just a little more to upgrade to the latter.
Thin-film solar panels
If you’re willing to sacrifice efficiency to save money, then thin-film solar panels may be the option for you. With an efficiency rating of just 13-15%, they’re the least efficient one out of the four solar panel types we’ve talked about today.
Is there a way to increase the efficiency of my solar panels?
Unfortunately, no, there’s no way to increase the efficiency of your solar panels. What you can do, however, is keep them working at peak efficiency for a long, long time.
First, you need to make sure that your home is solar ready. As a general rule, it should have a south-facing roof that slopes anywhere between 15 and 40 degrees and has unobstructed access to direct sunlight. In addition, the roof surface itself must be big enough to accommodate enough solar panels to generate the amount of power your household requires.
Second, you need to make sure that your solar power system is properly installed and set up. This means that unless you’re a certified expert when it comes to solar installations, it’s better to let a professional take care of it for you.
Finally, you need to make sure that your solar panels are not covered in leaves, snow, and other forms of debris, so be sure to clean them from time to time. And, if you spot signs of damage, get in touch with your solar provider immediately so they can fix the problem before it gets worse.
Given that most modern solar panels are designed to work at peak capacity for at least 25 years, if you have yours properly installed and keep them well maintained, you should be able to enjoy a healthy return on your investment.
Is efficiency rating everything?
The short answer is no, efficiency rating is not necessarily the be-all and end-all when it comes to choosing what type of solar panel to invest in.
While it may seem like going for the option with the highest efficiency rating is a great idea, there are actually several other factors you need to consider to ensure you get the right solar panel type for your specific needs and situation, such as:
- Your budget
- The size and condition of your roof
- The location of your property
- Your total power requirement
Let’s take a closer look at each one:
The first consideration is how much you have to spend on a solar power system. Even if you wanted to get the most efficient option, if you need to burn through your life savings to do so, then it might not be the best decision. Keep in mind that it takes time for solar energy systems to pay for themselves and become an actual asset.
Second, the size and condition of your roof would also dictate the type of solar panel you can use. There’s no point in going for the most efficient option if your roof is not big or strong enough to house it.
Third, you also need to consider your home address. if your property is located in an area that’s constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions, then you’ll also need to strike a balance between efficiency and durability when it comes to choosing the type of solar panel to use.
Finally, you need to remember that there’s more than one way to ensure your solar system meets your home’s power requirement. The goal is to find the most cost-effective setup that would last a long, long time—which doesn’t always require the use of the most efficient solar panels available in the market.
Long story short, if you want to make sure you get the perfect solar power system for your home, it’s best to hire an expert to not only help you choose, but also take care of installation, set up, and maintenance for you.
Is there a way to make switching to solar more financially feasible?
Absolutely! In fact, there are several ways for you to either significantly reduce or completely eliminate the upfront costs associated with switching to solar. Let’s take a look at the three most popular ones: solar loan, solar lease, and solar PPA.
Solar loans are just like any other kind of loan. They allow you to purchase your solar system without having to pay up front. Instead, you pay a significantly smaller monthly fee until the total cost of the system is paid off.
If you get your solar loan through LGCY Power, you’ll get access to benefits such as:
- Monthly payments lower than your energy bill
- System maintenance
- Product and workmanship warranty
- Federal solar tax credit and other government incentives
A solar lease, on the other hand, works pretty much the same way, taking the upfront cost of switching to solar out of the equation. The only difference is that if you choose this option, you won’t actually get to own the system. In fact, even the benefits are exactly the same when you get one from LGCY Power.
The third and final option we’ll be taking a look at today is solar PPA (power purchase agreement).
Unlike the first two options where you either pay in installments for the system or pay to borrow one, a solar PPA completely eliminates the need for you to purchase or lease a system. Instead, the solar company retains ownership of the system and you just pay for the amount of power you use—which typically costs less than what your utility company is charging you now.
The advantage of going with this setup is that you get to enjoy clean, affordable energy without having to worry about things such as depreciation and maintenance.
At the end of the day, it all depends on your needs.
If you prefer to have your own solar power system but don’t have the cash to pay for it up front, then a solar loan is your best bet.
If you just want a system installed but don’t mind not actually owning it, then a solar lease would be better for you. This option not only eliminates the need to pay for the system up front just like a solar loan, it also takes depreciation out of the equation just like a solar PPA.
Finally, if you just want more affordable energy but don’t want (or are unable) to install a solar power system in your home, then a solar PPA is exactly what you need.
Again, if you want to make sure you get the right solar power system for your home, the first step is to talk to a solar power specialist who can take care of not only helping you choose the correct system, but also installing, setting up, and maintaining it.
Book a no-obligation free consultation with one of our solar panel consultants today so we can answer all your questions and guide you every step of the way.
You probably already know how residential solar power systems are not only great for cutting energy costs, but are also more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels.
But did you know that they can actually help you make money, save money for decades, and enjoy improved economic security?
Let’s take a closer look at how each one works:
#1: They can help you make money
Investing in a residential solar power system helps you make money not only by giving you access to all sorts of government incentives, but also by helping increase the value of your property.
In terms of government incentives, you’ll get access to things such as:
- Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
If you have your residential solar power system installed on or before January 1, 2023, you’re entitled to a 26% tax credit based on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which also covers fuel cell, geothermal heat pump, and small-scale wind turbine installations.
But even if you have your system installed at a later date, you’ll still receive a 22% tax credit—and this is regardless of the condition of your home. Whether you live in a pre-existing property or a newly constructed one, you’re covered by the provisions of the act.
- Performance-Based Incentive (PBI)
As the same suggests, this incentive involves payouts based on how much energy your residential solar power system generates over a set period of time.
In some states, the payouts are released every month; in others, you’ll have to wait anywhere between one and five years. Either way, though, you’re still earning regular payments from a one-time expense.
The only catch is that if you want to get paid a lot, you will have to really take care of your system and keep it in peak condition.
- Solar Rebates
Selling any excess energy your system generates back into the grid is another one of the many government benefits you could enjoy when you have a residential power system installed in your home.
Just like with PBI, if you want to enjoy sizable rebates, you’ll have to make sure your system is operating at 100%—or near 100%—capacity.
In terms of increasing your property’s value, on the other hand, the actual numbers would ultimately depend on where it is located.
Properties in New York, Orlando, and San Francisco, for example, typically see a 4.4-5.4% increase. Those in New Jersey, on the other hand, see a jump of up to 9.9%. Depending on the average price of the properties in your area, these numbers could translate to tens of thousands of dollars added to your home’s price tag.
#2: They generate long-term ROI
Another lesser-known benefit of residential solar power systems is that most modern options are designed to work at peak capacity for at least 25 years after you have them installed. And even after that time, they should still work at about 85% capacity for years to come, allowing you to still enjoy sizable cost savings without having to worry about spending on a replacement.
Of course, the actual lifespan of your solar power system would ultimately depend on factors such as:
- The manner in which it is installed
- The climate in your area
- How it is maintained
You’ll know it’s time to get a replacement when you’re no longer getting the amount of energy you need from your current system or if it suffers irreparable damage at some point during the course of its lifespan.
#3: They can help provide improved economic security to everyone
The third and final lesser-known benefit of residential solar power systems we’ll take a look at today is how they help the country become less dependent on imported fossil fuels—that cost whatever the countries that supply them decide they do—for energy.
This means that with each installation, we, as a nation, take one step closer to enjoying improved long-term economic security.
The fact that even the US federal government has invested over $100 million to make solar energy more cost effective for everyone highlights just how promising the technology is and how much the country as a whole stands to gain from it.
Ready to find out more about getting a solar power system for your home?
Book a no-obligation free consultation with one of our solar panel consultants today! Just tell us what you need and we’ll help you find the best and most cost-effective option for your home.