Managing Household Energy
Making your home or business energy efficient before going solar is an essential first step. Energy efficiency improvements – such as properly insulating your house and changing incandescent bulbs to CFLs or LEDs – can help you reduce your energy use and save thousands of dollars in up-front costs for solar.
By reducing your overall energy use before going solar, you can reduce the size of your solar generation system as well as improve the comfort, health and safety of your home.
Begin by identifying the annual kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption in your home. You can do this by contacting your utility or by totaling the past 12 months of electricity usage from your bills. Then consider the number of kWh that PEV charging will add to your monthly consumption (explained in “Choosing Your PEV”).
Think about the portion (percentage) of your annual consumption that you are hoping to offset with solar. This may include only the load from your home, your home and a PEV charger or a portion of your consumption from both. The higher the percentage of electrical consumption you choose to offset, the larger your PV system will likely be.
Choosing Your PEV
Your PEV selection will depend on several factors – your driving habits, available charging infrastructure, average commute and personal preferences. Many PEVs are available and manufacturers continue to bring out new models. You can review the list of PEVs with state incentives on the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project website.
Be sure to contact your local utility prior to purchasing and bringing a PEV home in order to learn about specific electricity rates for charging in your area that can help you save money on fueling your car and powering your home. Once you’ve chosen a model, talk with a dealer and your utility to learn about the electric load the car will add to your household. The load will depend on certain variables including how much you charge each day and the efficiency of the car.