How to Estimate Your Solar Power Savings
Many Americans have already gone solar, but many who are still considering making the switch are asking “How much can I save by installing my own solar power system?”
Calculating your solar power savings requires a detailed look at your current and future energy usage, your current electricity bill and other important considerations.
Here are four things you should consider when you are calculating how much you can expect to save by going solar.
1. Your Current Energy Bill
Most solar power customers make the switch to solar energy to lower or eliminate rising energy costs. Therefore, the amount you currently pay for electricity is a big factor in seeing how much you can save by going solar. Customers who pay $150 or more each month to their monthly electric utility can most often quickly realize big savings once they go solar, but even customers who pay less for electricity can see a drop in their monthly utility bills.
Either way, whether you currently pay a little or a lot, the amount of your current energy bill is a big factor to consider in determining how much you can save by installing solar panel at home.
2. Your Energy Consumption
The bottom line is, the more electricity your household currently uses or expects to use in the future, the more power your new solar energy system will need to generate in order to offset 100% of your current utility bill. Getting detailed numbers on the amount of kilowatt hours you currently consume and how much you might need in the future is an important step in estimating your solar power savings.
The types of things that can increase your current energy consumption and also the size and cost of your solar power system include:
• Central heat or air conditioning
• Pool pump
• Electric vehicle(s)
• Non-energy efficient appliances or windows
By taking a close look at your individual historical energy usage data, an experienced solar power company can design, build and install a solar energy system that is tailored to deliver the amount of power you currently need.
Failing to conduct this important analysis can leave you with not enough solar-generated electricity to meet your current or future needs, forcing you to continue paying increasing utility rates to make up the difference, which is not a good thing.
Just like with real estate, the amount you can expect to save by going solar is all about location, location and location. Locations near the beach that see more coastal clouds during the day likely need a larger system with more solar panels to generate what they need, while inland and desert installations that see more sun can get by with smaller systems and still generate enough power.
Another consideration is shade from trees or neighboring structures, which can dramatically reduce your solar power system’s efficiency. You want your panels in the direct sunlight as much as possible so they can catch and turn the sun’s rays into clean, green electricity for your home to save you as much as possible.
4. North, South, East or West?
The direction your home’s roof faces is another big factor in determining the cost and savings from going solar. Roofs that face to the south are best, since they tend to receive the maximum direct sunlight during the day that is key to an efficient residential solar power system. Roofs that face east or west are good too, since they tend to generate efficient electricity during the morning and afternoon hours, but roofs that face north generally don’t get enough direct sun to efficiently generate electricity with solar power.