Solar panels don’t come cheap, making them quite a significant investment for the average homeowner. Nevertheless, the free energy that you get from the sun is an incomparable return, and on top of that, you get to cut down on your carbon emissions by opting out of coal-powered electricity.
It takes several years for solar panels to pay for themselves. If you want to reach the break-even faster, here are some of the best ways to make the most out of your solar panels.
1. Install a Backup Battery
Solar energy battery backups such as Tesla Powerwalls collect energy from your solar panels and store it for later use, allowing you to collect power during peak sunlight hours and use it in the evenings or during power outages. By having a battery backup, your solar panels bring more value to your home in the form of stored energy, helping you save even more money in the long run.
2. Maximize Energy Use During the Day
A great way to make the most out of your solar panels is using as much energy as you can while the sun is high and the sky, and then reducing your usage after darkness takes over. This can mean:
- Charging devices during the day
- Limiting the use of devices that need to be plugged constantly at night
- Unplugging and turning off the most energy-hungry appliances at night
- Do electricity consuming chores when the sun is shining (cooking, washing, drying, vacuum cleaning, etc.)
3. Clean the Panels Regularly
Solar panels absorb the most sunshine when they are not obstructed by dirt and debris, such as bird droppings, leaves, and mold. This doesn’t mean you should climb up to your roof every weekend, but you should have your solar panels cleaned by professionals at least once or twice a year.
4. Remove Obstruction
If the trees near your solar panels have grown enough to block the sunlight from shining on them, it’s time to call in an arborist to trim the overhanging branches.
5. Use One Appliance at a Time
In doing so, you can conserve your energy, especially at night. For example, finish cooking dinner before turning the TV on, turn off your computer before booting up your game console, take a hot shower after you’ve done the laundry, and more. But of course, the amount of energy you conserve will depend on your solar panel system and how much electricity each of your appliances needs.
6. Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
Another excellent way to conserve your electricity is by investing in energy-efficient appliances. This is especially true if your house is older and the appliances have not been replaced in more than a decade. Look for appliances with an ENERGY STAR rating. These newer models use significantly less energy than older appliances and remain efficient for a longer time.
7. Track your Usage
There are lots of apps that you can use to monitor your solar panels, which can help you modify your behaviors to make the most out of your solar panels. For example, data from your solar panels can tell you how much energy they are producing and how much you are using in turn. If it turns out that you are using more energy than your solar panels produce, you can start taking the necessary actions to reverse that.
8. Adjust The Temperature During the Day
Heating and cooling costs make up a great bulk of an average household’s energy use. For this reason, it’s important to adjust your home’s temperature while your solar panels are absorbing sunlight so that you can turn it off at night and not have to worry about incurring additional energy expenses.
9. Make your Home Smarter
Smart home technology allows you to control your home’s lights, temperature, and even appliances all from the palm of your hand. By investing in this type of tech, you can easily adjust your home’s temperature, control lights, and turn devices on and off to consume the most energy during the day–regardless of where you may be.
10. Set Up Timers
If you can’t be home during the day when it is the best time to use your appliances, set up timers for your washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher so that they turn on automatically when the sun is high in the sky. In this way, you don’t have to consume backup energy when you have to do chores at night.
With these tips, you should be able to make the most out of your solar panels and see the return on your investment much faster. Moreover, not only are you getting free electricity, but you are also doing your part in helping out the environment.