Solar and the Holidays

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and Sunnova would like to remind you to keep in mind what we call around here the “seasonal spike.” Just what exactly is seasonal spike? It’s pretty simple—it’s a temporary spike associated with your household consumption around the holidays.

There are a number of reasons why electricity usage spikes during the holidays. You have unexpected guests staying at your house. You’re cooking the traditional Thanksgiving meal. You’re decorating for the holidays. You might be thinking “what in the world do all of these things have to do with electricity?” Well, a lot.

Adding more people to your home increases the use of every resource in your home, from hot water to food preparation. Electric appliances like hot water heaters and electric ovens consume a ton of electricity, and are typically in overdrive during the holiday season.

Simply changing some of your energy consumption habits during the holidays can make a difference. First, shift as much electricity use to the daytime as possible. That includes everything from charging your laptops and mobile devices to doing the laundry and preparing meals before nighttime.

Keep nighttime energy usage as low as you can

Simply knowing where energy is used in the home will help you better manage it. It’s as simple as turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and setting thermostats to moderate temperatures when you go to bed.

Educate your temporary houseguests

Adding more people to your household will inevitably increase the usage in your home, but educating your houseguests about how your solar system works can go a long way toward curbing energy usage. Remind your houseguests that taking showers, washing clothes and cooking during the daytime can greatly decrease your usage. Think about asking them to charge their laptops, cell phones, Kindles and iPads during the day when it’s sunny, and to unplug their chargers from the walls at night.

Maximize your appliance energy

Try using your toaster oven or your microwave for smaller cooking tasks. Save your oven for your biggest cooking tasks, and make the most of your oven’s energy by baking or cooking several dishes at once. Keep in mind that it takes the same amount of energy to heat a full oven as it does a nearly empty one.

The same goes for the washer and dryer. It takes the same amount of energy to run a partial load of laundry as it takes to run a full load, so consider doing laundry only once or twice a week, fill your loads to capacity and select low heat for drying.

Also, fill your dishwater to its full capacity before you run it, and pick a wash cycle that uses low or no heat.

Holiday lights: Just the facts

Did you know that switching holiday lights to LED can save a huge amount of energy? It’s true. According to U.S. Department of Energy, LED holiday lights use roughly 75 percent less energy, and can last 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs. They also don't require a ton of maintenance and they never burn out (they’ll just get dimmer over time).

So before you start your holiday decorating, invest in LED lights. You’ll save yourself a lot of energy!

Just keep in mind that a little planning goes a long way. And on behalf of Sunnova, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season.