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Author Topic: Energy Conservation, The First Step Towards Solar  (Read 5713 times)


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Energy Conservation, The First Step Towards Solar
« on: November 05, 2018, 09:10:00 am »
Before figuring out how many solar panels you need, it's best to reduce your current electricity usage as much as possible. Doing this will make your system more cost effective. Making small and simple changes to your electricity usage can make a huge impact on your electricity bill.

On the more expensive end of the spectrum, you can make improvements such as replacing bad insulated windows with more modern ones, insulating walls and ceilings, replacing old central heating units, etc. This is more of a long term investment, and once they you get your payback, it's just extra money in your pocket.

The next step would be making changes with your big appliances. They are a major part of your electricity consumption and you can make big gains by switching to more efficient models. Switching to Energy Star compliant appliances is a great way to go about it.

There are a lot of small investments and also personal habits that you can do right now that take a big part in reducing your electricity usage. What a lot of this comes down to is habit. Just like many people have habits of wasting electricity whether they realize or not, those habits can easily be reversed by starting more energy saving habits. Lets take a look at a few things for starters:

-Turn off lights in rooms not being used. You could take it a step further by purchasing compact florescent bulbs. They are a little more expensive but the payment is very quick.

-Get in the habit of turning off your computer monitor. Instead of leaving your computer on, make sure you have it in sleep mode, or better yet, turn it off when not in use.

-Close your blinds if parts of the house are getting direct sunlight. It heats the house up and will make your air condition kick on more.

-Run your dishwasher and wash your clothes at night. A lot of utility companies have rating scales where they will charge you more during peak hours. Find out from your utility company when the lowest rates apply.

-Insulate your water heater. For about $10-$20 you can buy a installation wrap that goes around your water heater so it doesn't work as hard to heat the water.

-Get a shower curtain rod, set it up in your utility room and start air drying clothes.

-Use warm and cold water to wash clothes rather then hot

-Turn your refrigerator down. Use a thermometer to set your refrigerator temperature as close to 37 degrees and your freezer as close to 3 degrees as possible. Make sure that its energy saver switch is turned on.

-Clean or replace air filters when needed.

-Use low-flow shower heads so you use less hot water

-Take showers instead of baths, they use half the amount of hot water.

Pick up a Kill-A-Watt meter. This is a good way to determine what the big electricity wasters are. You can get them for around $30 on These meters measure the power used from any device that gets plugged into the wall.

I made this a sticky post to encourage others to chime in with energy conservation ideas, so please do so!


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Re: Energy Conservation, The First Step Towards Solar
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2019, 04:23:14 pm »
Forget the bag of coal, lol. Yes, you can easily maintain solar PV panels in any weather. Denier's neighbor should have considered a ground mount for his panels in a snowy climate as we did. I use a long handled soft brush that takes care of in a few minutes whatever snow doesn't slide off by itself. Additionally, and as those readers that follow science probably know, solar PV panels are actually more efficient in producing power in colder weather than during the summer months. For example, our system produced 56 kWh of clean electricity yesterday (20 deg F) alone and in the process avoided 36 kg of Co2 that would have been emitted by burning...a big bag of coal!

Withoped is right on the money with his suggestions for improving efficiency before adding RE options. Once you do that, you can feel confident about taking the next step. You'll feel really good about what your doing for your family, your neighbors, our hobby, and the overall environment every day!

Enjoy your journey!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 02:42:35 am by CraigG »


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