Thanks to the falling costs of solar power systems, more and more homeowners are installing photovoltaic arrays to cover their household electricity needs.
But many are failing to take energy efficiency into consideration when planning their solar power systems, and this ends up costing them money.
When it comes to saving money with solar power, energy efficiency is a valuable tool. Fortunately, you have many options for making your home more efficient when investing in photovoltaic power.
Your energy consumption dictates what size solar power system you’ll need. The more electricity your household uses, the larger your photovoltaic array will need to be to generate enough energy to power your home.
Taking steps to increase efficiency will mean your home needs less electricity — and therefore, you can install a smaller and less expensive photovoltaic system. But making your home more efficient costs money up front. So does it really make sense to spend the cash on efficiency?
The answer depends on you, your power needs and your budget. Each dollar spent on energy efficiency measures can save you between $3 and $5 on a solar array. So let’s say you put $1,000 into decreasing your electricity consumption — that could translate to savings of up to $5,000 on your photovoltaic installation costs.
But you have many other options for increasing your savings when installing alternative energy systems.
Photovoltaic power systems are eligible for many types of federal, state and local solar tax credits, rebates and grants. Many homeowners can save up to 50 percent on their photovoltaic installations by taking advantage of these incredible financial incentives.
Many are available for energy efficiency upgrades as well. For instance, homeowners can qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $500 for insulation and home sealing products. State-level incentives are available in many areas, and some Intermountain West utility companies also offer rebates for a variety of energy-saving improvements.
To find offers in your area, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), or check with your local utility company.
A home energy audit is a great way to identify ways to boost your efficiency.
Home Energy Saver (HES), an online audit tool created by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, offers suggestions. Simply answer a few questions and fill out the form for a personalized list of recommendations.
Or you can choose to have a professional home audit. Some utility companies provide this service for free. But if yours doesn’t, an audit is well worth paying for, because a professional can detect potential energy upgrades that you and the HES may miss.
In Utah and throughout the Intermountain West, Intermountain Wind & Solar can help maximize your electricity cost savings with photovoltaic power. Are you ready to explore your options for energy independence? Browse our website or give us a call today to learn more about the energy efficiency of solar power.
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