To Enjoy Solar Savings, Keep an Eye on Energy Consumption

If you're a homeowner preparing to purchase rooftop solar PV systems, or if you've just initiated this process, it's important that you have a solid sense of your energy usage. Without understanding your household energy consumption and taking steps to improve its efficiency, there's no metric for knowing how much you're ultimately saving. Worse, not paying attention to your household energy consumption can potentially lead to higher bills than you're expecting.

With electricity prices in a constant state of fluctuation, many homeowners are looking for more cost-effective solutions to rising energy prices. One such solution is a rooftop solar PV system.

There are several advantages to installing residential solar panels. First, it immediately offers you significant savings on your utility bill. Second, unlike electricity from the grid that's subject to price spikes, the cost of solar energy remains the same. Third, this power source relies on clean, renewable energy.

However, when you set off to take advantage of the benefits of solar power, you should set realistic expectations for your solar system to ensure it's delivering the anticipated savings based on your energy usage levels.

Rising energy consumption

Despite more individuals being conscious of the need to reduce energy consumption, several factors have actually pushed electricity usage higher in some areas.

As noted by Scientific American, rising incomes, coupled with increased home sizes and relocations to warmer climates have all led to a rise in energy consumption. The first of these trends has led to more indifference from homeowners about their utility bills. The second element has created the need for higher energy demand, and people living in hotter environments has boosted air conditioning usage and swimming pool-related energy use. Combined, these three conditions have all contributed to less energy efficiency.

Lowering energy consumption is simply smart

A common misconception among some homeowners is that installing a rooftop solar PV system means they have access to an unlimited source of energy. While solar power is renewable, each system is designed to produce a certain amount of energy in a single day. Due to this misunderstanding, some users increase their energy consumption to such a degree that they don't enjoy the savings they expected.

This means it's more important than ever to keep an eye on your energy consumption before, during and after the installers set up your solar panels. By tracking how much electricity you're using, you can more easily pinpoint problem areas and implement an improvement plan.

Remaining conscious of your consumption

Thankfully, there are several simple and effective ways to track your energy consumption and easily reduce the amount of electricity used in your household. Consider these tips for improving the energy efficiency of your home:

Fight energy vampires

No, it's not the plot of the latest blockbuster film. Energy vampires are appliances and other electronic devices, like TVs and computers, that continue to suck energy even when they're turned off and not in use. It might not seem like a lot, but unplugging these machines after you turn them off can go a long way to reducing your energy consumption and lowering your electric bill.

Use the IoT and smart devices

The internet has revolutionized nearly every aspect of society, and household energy consumption is no exception. The Internet of Things and the related smart devices have given homeowners the ability to accurately track their electricity usage. A study conducted by Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company, revealed that 70 percent of U.S. households indicated they were able to reduce their energy consumption and save money by using smart energy devices.

Devices like CURB, a home energy monitoring system, deliver granular data on your energy usage straight to your mobile device or personal computer.

With this information in hand, you can make smarter decisions on your home energy consumption, identify irregularities and inconsistent patterns in electricity usage, allowing you to uncover inefficient appliances or potential problems. It also provides you with the ability to better estimate your utility bill.

In addition to using the IoT and smart devices, eco-friendly products can also help make your home more energy efficient. For example, switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs such as light-emitting diodes, commonly referred to as LEDs, can save your household on electricity costs. Replacing an old 60-watt incandescent bulb with an LED reduces energy consumption to only 10 watts needed to produce the same amount of light, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council.

Further, windows, doors and major appliances all have energy-efficient versions of their normal counterparts. Although the energy-efficient versions can be a bit pricier than their typical counterparts, they can all contribute to reducing your energy consumption and utility bills.

With a little extra attention and a few proactive decisions, you can improve your home's energy efficiency and get even more savings after you install a rooftop solar PV system.