There’s a huge attraction toward solar panels for a reason. The source of “free energy” has been growing in popularity because solar power is a great way to reduce not only your energy bills but also your carbon footprint. Although this energy alternative is definitely something to keep in mind, it’s important to fully consider this investment. Rebates are available for solar through SRP and APS, but the cost alone for having solar installed on your home can cost owners up to $9 per watt, meaning that a 5,000 W system could run you $35,000, and that’s just for installation!
The truth is that, although solar energy use is a great advancement on homes and definitely something to consider, there are more cost effective methods to cutting down your carbon footprint and saving money on your energy bill.
Cutting down energy consumption is an important first step whether you decide to invest in solar power for your home or not. At Green ID, we say reduce before you produce. Reducing your energy use by keeping warmed and conditioned air inside through correct insulation of the walls and roof, and also by making sure your heating and cooling systems are working properly. This will put you in a much better position to use renewable energy if you choose to go that route. This is because by reducing your energy consumption, your home will require a smaller PV system. Cutting down your energy consumption before the instillation of solar panels will not only lower your current energy bills, but also will lower your overall cost of installing and purchasing solar panels because you will require a smaller unit. For each kW you reduce could save you about $500 upfront cost when investing in solar panels.
Home energy audits are the best way to learn where your whole home can save on energy. You wouldn’t get a heart transplant without first making sure you absolutely needed one and in the same way, a home energy audit would be the diagnostic testing of your home. Will solar energy help reduce your energy bills no matter what? Yes, of course it will, but putting solar panels on an inefficient home is like driving a Prius with a hole in the gas tank!
The Department of Energy put together a video explaining what an energy audit includes, and you can also view a checklist of what an energy audit includes here.
Although solar panels may be the right move for you and your home, first consider that it may not be the right first move. It’s important to make improvements on what you already have existing so that you’re cutting back on energy consumption and cost both initially and long term.
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