Are you considering solar for your home or business? Would you like to save a lot of money? Here’s how….

Yes, you’ve heard it before. Cut back on your electricity usage. Why such a big deal? Here’s why….

Solar arrays are not cheap. But it’s relatively easy to make them cost less. Simply reduce the amount of electricity you need your solar array to generate. You do that by changing your behavior and lowering your electricity usage. Let me start with a hypothetical situation. (What would the world be like without hypothetical situations? :-))

Bob Sunhope is considering a solar array. He and his family use about 800 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month or 9,600 kilowatt-hours per year. Bob lives in Worcester County, has National Grid as his power company and his home and land’s assessed value is less than $350,000. Assuming Bob has the perfect site for solar, he will need an array of 33 panels (of 240 watt each) to offset all of his electricity usage. A 33-panel system will cost approximately $22,000 after factoring in incentives*. (I told you they are not cheap.)

Fortunately, Bob’s a smart guy. So he works with his family to change behaviors so they use less electricity. In fact, the family works hard enough to lower their electricity usage by 150 kilowatt-hours per month or 1,800 kilowatt-hours per year.

What did that mean to Bob’s wallet? First, his electricity usage went down from 9,600 kilowatt-hours per year to 7,800 kWh per year. At typical Massachusetts electric rates his annual electric bill went down by $270 (nothing to sneeze at). And, because of his lower energy usage, he does not need as many solar panels. In fact, the system he needs now requires only 27 panels instead of the original 33. That decreases his net cost from $22,000 to about $19,000.

Trim a Little, Save a Lot
So, a $270 per year reduction in electricity usage reduced the solar array cost by $3,000. That’s a 1100% return on Bob and his family’s effort! And think of the benefit to the planet. He’s using less electricity, and the electricity he is using is solar generated.

Thanks for Reading the Energy Miser

*Incentives vary a bit from home to home. This is just one scenario. I’ll discuss solar incentives in an upcoming post.


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