How to Save Money Using Solar Power: A Complete Guide


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It’s a well-known fact that the planet is suffering, and many factors are making it worse. This sadly includes the energy and electricity we use daily; however, by switching to solar power, you can reduce the amount of electricity you use and make the world a better place. You can even save money with solar power, but how?

To save money using solar power, reduce your energy consumption by switching out high-energy products and turning off standby mode. Use most of your high-consumption devices during the day as well, so you can make the most of your solar energy.

If you’d like to learn more about solar power and how you can save money by using it, you may want to read on. We’ll cover how it works, the pros and cons, and the steps you should follow to save money, all while saving the planet.

How Does Solar Power Work?

Before we begin to cover how solar power will save you money, we should understand what solar power is and how it works. Any form of solar technology can take sunlight and convert it into electrical energy. This can be through photovoltaic panels or possibly through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation. Solar panels save utility usage, which is why they are considered an incredible long-term investment. 

Photovoltaic Panels

Photovoltaic panels, also known as PV panels, are mainly used to power household appliances and equipment. The most common PV system is known as the grid-connected system. Just as the name suggests, it’s connected to the national grid, so at night, when solar panels don’t work, you’ll be able to use kWh electricity directly from the grid.

how to save money using solar panels
Solar Panels Can Capture Energy on Cloudy and Rainy Days

PV panels are made up of small photovoltaic cells made of semiconducting material such as silicone that connects. While PV cells are small, they pack quite the punch for a small system size when they’re all combined as a solar panel. As the sun shines on the cells, the creation of an electric field is formed. However, these cells don’t need direct sunlight to function, even working on cloudy and rainy days.

Nonetheless, it’s pretty apparent that PV panels are powerful and very useful for solar-powered homes and help drive down electricity rates for homeowners. Installing solar panels are very common on the roof.

Mirrors Conducting Solar Radiation

Keep in mind, PV panels aren’t the only way to use solar power. As mentioned above, mirrors can conduct solar radiation, too. These mirrors are known as Solar Mirrors, and they concentrate the sun’s energy to help create electricity. While this isn’t as interesting as PV panels, it’s still a great way to use solar energy.

Solar Radiation

Just in case you were unaware, when we refer to solar radiation, we are simply talking about sunlight. This is the same light (electromagnetic radiation) seen all over the world. No matter where you live, the sun will shine on the Earth, regardless of for how long. For example, some places will see almost 24/7 sunlight at the height of summer, where others will be thrust into weeks of darkness during the winter. 

As science progresses, we‘ve found many remarkable ways to harness this energy, making solar more effective than ever. It’s somewhat like the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” but it’s more like “When the sun gives you solar radiation, make solar power!” 

Now that we understand solar power and how it works, let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros & Cons of Solar Power

To better understand the incentives for what makes solar power so good and what keeps people from using it, we will briefly cover both its pros and cons.

Pros

  • Renewable energy: The main pro of solar power is that solar energy is entirely renewable. You can use solar anywhere in the world, and it’s available to use every single day. It’s virtually impossible to run out of solar energy unless the sun dies, which won’t be for another 5 billion years.
  • Electricity bills are lower: By using solar power, you’ll be getting all of the energy you need from a free source. This way, you end up saving money on your electricity bills. However, this depends on your system size, how many solar devices you have, and how often you use your regular electricity and heat.
  • Low maintenance: In comparison to ordinary forms of energy, solar energy systems don’t need much maintenance. The only thing you should do is keep them clean, which you can do a few times a year. Plus, many solar panel manufacturers have offers for warranties lasting up to 25 years.
  • Tax Advantages: There are many federal tax incentives, such as tax credits for solar installation systems for panels to help defray the upfront cost of the solar investment. There is no question the price to install solar panels is high. Solar panels cost a lot to install on a roof. Incentives such as the federal tax credit can bring down the cost of solar installation.
  • Reducing Carbon: When you install solar panels, you lower your carbon footprint every year. Long term, this is an excellent investment for the climate.

Cons

  • Cost: Sure, your electric bills are lower, and maintenance costs little to nothing. However, what about the initial cost of the solar energy system? It would be best if you bought solar panels, an inverter, batteries, wiring, and finally, installing solar panels themselves, which will cover all likely cost you quite a bit. But solar technology is constantly developing, so prices may go down in the future if we’re patient. Companies may also run promotions on installation.
  • Weather: Solar panels work even on cloudy days, but sadly, their efficiency will drop. They depend on sunlight to get enough solar energy effectively enough. So, unfortunately, the weather can make a noticeable change in your solar energy system’s efficiency.

Do Solar Panels Save on Electricity Bills?

Most people are wondering how solar panels will save them money on their electricity bills. The truth is, you may not see solar savings right away because most of the cost of solar expenses associated with installing a solar panel system are upfront costs and don’t generate any immediate return for years. That said, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not it’s worth going solar that go beyond just how much you’ll spend in the long run.

save money on electricity solar
Solar Panels Do Save on Electricity Bills

Considerations to Save Money with Solar Power

  • What type of roof do I need?
  • How big should my inverter be?
  • Does solar power work during cloudy days? (Solar power systems use photovoltaic cells, which require direct sunlight to produce energy).
  • Do solar panels save money right away?

How Using Solar Power Can Save You Money

As noted in the previous section, solar power saves money on utility rates and costs quite a bit of money. Energy costs have been steadily increasing over the years, and solar power systems will save you money in the long run. To go solar, you will have a lower power bill. 

So when you factor in everything, how does solar power save money?

After you’re able to cover the initial cost of your solar energy system, you won’t need to spend as much money on maintenance or repairs. This is helpful because, with other forms of technology, the power can go out, or a fuse can blow, which will cost quite a bit to fix if it’s damaged. Not with solar energy, though!

However, the “initial cost” of your solar energy system could be a lot for you, depending on your budget. Many solar panels cost a lot, and other solar devices can be pretty expensive. But there’s a chance it may be worth it because solar is a great way how to save money on housing expenses, considering solar energy is free compared to your average electricity bill.

how using solar power can save you money
One KW Solar is Equivalent to $.36 per Day on Electric Bill

You should also consider that, by using up as much solar power as possible, you’ll be using free energy, and you’ll reduce your electric bill cost right away. If you can switch over entirely to solar power, you won’t have to pay a thing for your electricity.

  • One kW solar is equivalent to about $.36 per day on your electric energy bill, and this number varries depending on the size of installed solar panels you get.

Another lovely way that solar power saves your money is by setting you up for your future. By investing in solar, you’re increasing the value of your home. So, if you decide to sell your place in the future, you’ll undoubtedly get your money’s worth because of your system installed. 

How Many kWh Does the Average Household Use Each Year? 

The average is about 25,000 kWh. That means switching to solar power would save the household $900 per year on their electric bill. 

Is Solar Power Cheaper Than My Utility?

Solar power is cheaper than your typical utilities. We know; it’s shocking to hear. However, by creating your solar power system, you’ll make a terrific investment that will simply pay for itself and even increase the value of your home. So, quite literally, your solar cost might end up being less than what you currently pay for electricity.

Net Metering For Solar Panels to Earn Money

By going solar, you can also use your solar system to receive credit and earn money back from the power company. Some states offer what is called “net-metering” for your solar system. This means that you get credit for any energy you send back to the grid, and then at night, when you need extra power from the utility company, they will give it to you for free because of how much energy was sent back while it wasn’t required.

This is a great way to save money on your electric bill and earn some income as well!

  • Net-metering may only be available in particular locations, but it is worth looking into to see if your state offers this. 

Critics of net metering point out that it can be confusing to deal with two different power companies.

Others point out how this is really an additional fee on top of your electric bill and will only work for people who have a solar system that produces more energy than they use in the day. 

Whether net-metering works for you or not, using solar power as an alternative form of electricity production saves money!

Reduce Your Electricity Consumption

The first step to saving money with solar energy is to reduce your electricity consumption in your building. It would help if you got rid of/eliminated appliances and devices that consume too much power. See who buys used appliances near me if you are looking for someone local. 

how do I reduce my electricity consumption
You Can Reduce Your Electricity Consumption by Getting Rid of Inefficient Appliances

If you’re able to lower your consumption overall, then you’ll be able to cover the more significant part when you use solar PV.

Considering getting new efficient appliances, know how to save money on high end appliances when purchasing.

Switch Out Certain Products

While this can go hand in hand with reducing electricity consumption, you may still be unaware of all of the products you should be changing out. So, to save money with solar power, you should note all the products to switch out for more efficient use.

Light Bulbs

You’d be surprised just how much electricity light bulbs take up. However, they end up wasting about 90% of it on heat. On the other hand, LEDs use all of the electricity they pull, and they never waste a single percent. So, if you want to save with solar, save money, and save the planet, switching to LED bulbs would be much better.

Some LED light bulbs change colors, and you could use your voice to control them if you’d like to be fancy. 

Hot Water Systems

While this may sound crazy, you should switch out your hot water systems for electric boilers instead. Installing solar power is a great way to save money on your hot water system costs. Solar panels can provide some of the heat necessary for the system with national average annual savings upwards of $1000 per year for homeowners, depending on how much you invest in the project.

If you have an older model, chances are it is using too much power anyway, and a newer appliance will undoubtedly be more efficient even without solar kWh. Check for a tax credit or incentives for the purchase price or install.

Power Banks

Do you use power banks when you go camping? Are you tired of using power banks that give up after an hour or two? Perhaps you should consider a solar power bank. 

You can get kWh power banks on Amazon, which can charge up to 3 devices at a time. Of course, it’s also powered by sunlight, so there’s no need to worry about “charging the charger.”

Switch Off Standby Mode

In case you’re unaware, some devices still pull energy even when they’re not in use. A percent of your utility bill is paying for standby mode.

Top Devices That Pull Energy When Not In Use

  • TVs
  • Consoles
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Computers

If you have a number of these devices, you should undoubtedly separate the products from the circuit, which you can do by using switchable sockets.

However, if you’re unsure of a product being on standby mode, simply check the charger/cord. If it feels somewhat warm to the touch, then it’s on standby mode. If not, then you should be fine. Most TVs have a small light to indicate standby mode, as do some computers. 

By taking devices off of standby mode, you will end up saving a lot of money on your electric bill, and you’ll be able to focus more on your solar power system and solar panels. Additionally, your also practicing a frugal living lifestyle.

Run High-Consumption Devices in the Day

If you happen to have some devices in your home that consume a ton of energy, you should only run them during the day. That way, you’re getting the majority of it from your solar panels and solar power system, which will save money big time.

However, if you have to use them at night, you should be using PV panels. They still work at night because they pull electricity from the grid.

Use Electrical Heating During Transitional Periods

Let’s say your solar generator is run in a large storage unit. You have the option to use infrared radiators to get rid of the chill during cooler nights, which you can find in many different designs, such as heated mirrors for your bathroom. 

If they’re able to use as little power as possible and they’re used for added heating only, then they’re a fantastic way to save with solar and use your solar electricity. This way, you’re using your cost of solar energy to the best of its ability.

Increase Efficiency With Solar Energy Storage

From 2014 to 2017, stationary lithium batteries have decreased in price by 40%. Since there are expectations for this trend to continue as has already done so, you should invest some money in a solar battery. You can choose a size based on your home’s electricity demand and your solar generator’s size.

Without any sort of energy storage, you’ll use as low as 50% of your solar electricity for your home. However, with a long-term battery, you can quickly rack that up to 100%, making good use of your solar power. Thus, you’re not wasting any energy, and you’re not wasting any money. You can use solar to charge up the best rechargeable AA batteries so you can take power with you

Use Solar Whenever Possible

To save money using solar energy, your main goal is to use the power as effectively as you can. This way, you’re not wasting any energy. It’s renewable, but don’t you want to make good use of what you invested in?

By using your solar energy more, you’ll also be bringing down your standard electricity bill, saving you money. Therefore, use up your solar energy as much as possible.

Get a Solar Starter Kit

Maybe you just need a place to start with all of this. Get the Renogy Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit off of Amazon. The customer reviews seem to say it’s excellent, so this may be the perfect start for you. It’s small enough that you can get used to the system without having to invest thousands of dollars right away.

Other Uses for Your Solar Panels

Solar panels will be helpful for your power needs. When it’s sunny, you can expect some excellent savings. If you invest in a solar battery pack, you can even store the power for use when the sun has gone down. 

other uses for solar energy at home
You Can Use Solar Energy for Home Security Devices and Outdoor Decorations

But that’s not all they can do! Security in your home is essential these days, but alarm systems can be pretty expensive. The good news is, there are some excellent solar-powered options.

Security Device

As with any home, you may want to have a sense of security. Unfortunately, when you have a solar home, that want turns to need. In some cases, having such an expensive home can lead to unwanted visitors. To avoid this, you should have a solar-powered security device.

One form of a solar-powered security device is solar-powered floodlights. You can put them out on your lawn to charge up with sunlight. If someone tries to break-in, a solar-powered light will shine on them.

Another security device is this TOGUARD Security Camera Outdoor Wireless WiFi Solar Powered that will capture any trespassers that may come onto your property. 

Decor

Solar power doesn’t always have to be about technology. Sometimes you just need something that will boost your mood. Well, if you’d like to use something fun, why not try out a fountain that uses solar power. Many companies offer this.

Yes, a solar-powered fountain. You can use solar to organize your household to save money with Decor items.

Over on Amazon, you’ll find the Kandice Solar Bird Bath Fountain Pump that you can use for various fun things. Use it simply as a free-floating fountain with no purpose other than to decorate, or maybe use it for a pond garden. You could even use it as a birdbath or for a fish tank.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless when it comes to solar power. Just imagine all of the cool products you’ll be able to add inside and outside your home, all while saving energy and money. All you have to do is search for the products you want to replace.

Conclusion

Having a solar home can be pretty tricky. It’s a huge responsibility and has many different pros and cons to consider, such as cost, installation, weather conditions, renewable energy, low maintenance, and more.

However, you’ll be able to decrease your electric bill and save money by reducing your electricity consumption, switching out specific products, turning off standby mode, running high-consumption devices during the day, and using energy storage. These will also help you use your solar power more efficiently.

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