Solar panels lower electricity costs, improve property value, increase energy independence and resilience, and contribute to the fight against climate change in a localized fashion.
These benefits, combined with the substantial price drop in the last decade, have led to more homeowners than ever before deciding to make the switch to solar power.
Those who do should strongly consider pairing their solar investment with one in energy efficiency, as the two pair exceptionally well. It’s essential to check out your local guidelines for energy efficiency programs.
Most provinces, territories, and states throughout Canada and the United States have energy efficiency programs that offer incentives or rebates; however, the level of generosity differs and is subject to political interference.
Regardless of how numerous or extensive, energy efficiency upgrades will still positively impact a homeowner’s electricity bill.
Tons of long-lasting improvements can be made around your house, such as upgrading the furnace or air conditioning (AC), sealing or replacing windows and doors, installing ceiling fans to reduce AC use, switching to LED lighting, purchasing convection ovens, installing smart thermostats, sealing leaky heating ducts, and the list goes on.
Unless your home is relatively new, there’s a good chance the building design wastes a lot of energy — and your money with it.
Most residential solar installations can offset most of a household’s electricity use, but not all of it.
However, pairing solar panels with energy efficiency upgrades greatly increases the odds of further reducing monthly utility bills.
If the cost of efficiency upgrades is a significant barrier, starting with small appliances such as a heat pump (which is often covered by government incentive programs) can be an excellent choice.
Every dollar a solar owner invests in energy efficiency; they get much greater value back.
This is especially true if your locality has a public net metering program, allowing people to sell excess power from their solar panels back to the grid in exchange for energy credits. These credits can be applied dollar for dollar on an electricity bill.
Most net metering programs allow for a homeowner’s accumulated energy credits to be carried over month to month, but not, however, year to year.
In addition to more significant long-term savings, homeowners with energy-efficient upgrades and solar panels will be much less reliant on their local utility company.
Energy efficiency programs are vital in promoting individual power-saving efforts, which, on an aggregated scale, could have sizable benefits for the climate.
Energy efficiency reinforces and improves upon the factors that already make solar energy a solid investment for homeowners, namely its cost-saving measures, its ability to individualize and decentralize energy production, and its positive impact on the environment. At every possible chance, homeowners should attempt to pair solar with energy efficiency, as the two have a symbiotic relationship.