Many people are looking forward to the solarize programs coming soon, and for good reason: group purchases enable economies of scale, making solar installations more affordable than ever.
But the best thing you can do in preparation for your solar panels is tighten up your home. The more you can decrease your electricity use, the fewer panels you will need — or, to look at it another way, the farther your solar energy will go toward providing for all your electricity needs.
Adding attic insulation is an effective way to save money and make your living space more comfortable. Be sure to seal any openings into your attic area before insulating, though. Think ceiling fans, can lights, access stairs — all of these can be places where your conditioned air escapes to the attic, causing your heater or air conditioner to work harder.
Replace incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs for additional savings. LEDs now come in a large range of brightness and warmth, and are made to fit just about any type of light fixture. LED bulbs use a tiny fraction of the energy that old-style incandescent bulbs require, and perform better (and more efficiently) that CFLs as well.
Old refrigerators are energy hogs. Consider replacing yours, or if you have an old one in the garage or basement, see if you can get along without it– it’ll save you lots of money on your monthly bill.
If you want to save money without any expense, start by adjusting your thermostat: let your house be warmer in the summertime, and cooler in the winter. If you change it by one degree at a time and allow a week for you and your family to get used to it, you probably won’t even notice the difference — except when it comes to paying the bill. Try hanging your laundry to dry instead of using an electric dryer. It’s a little more work, but your clothes will last longer and you’ll enjoy the savings on your electric bill!
Many solar customers have found that they can reduce their electric needs by half, simply by increasing the efficiency of their homes and engaging in conservation practices. You can, too!