Getting the Most for Your Money

Add Energy Efficiency Before Adding Solar For Optimum Savings 

If your main reason for adopting a solar array is to save money, the most important step is to first make your dwelling or business as energy efficient as possible. There’s a simple reason behind that. It’s way less expensive to save energy than to produce energy. Reducing consumption to the greatest degree possible is the first and best step to save on your energy bill.  

Energy conservation can be accomplished in a variety of ways, and to a great degree it depends on the type of dwelling or structure, the kind of HVAC, and also other large appliances. Each area should be reviewed to see how it is contributing or reducing the overall efficiency. 

Building insulation is one of the first places to look at to achieve energy efficiency, because reducing heat transfer (out during cold weather and in during hot weather) is the number one thing that you can do to reduce consumption. Some of the best insulation for the attic is foam and it may be worth considering if you don’t have it. And if you do have fiberglass or cellulose insulation instead, check to make sure it has not become compacted and lost its R-Value or ability to insulate. Also, to help reduce heat transfer, check all of the seals around windows and doors. And, if you have old single pane windows, consider double paned. For other great tips, visit our Energy Saving Center.

 After Solar Adoption, Try To Use Every kWh You Make 

Grid tied solar accounts are paid for the kWh’s they send to WCEC via a bill credit. The rate paid is based on market and economic factors and is periodically adjusted, but it is always less than what a member pays WCEC per kWh. There’s a good reason for that. 

The rate the cooperative charges a member per kWh includes the cost of the purchased electricity, as well all WCEC’s overhead and facilities costs to include wires, meters, substations, and other hardware and overhead costs like trucks, fuel, people, and offices. For obvious reasons, we don’t pay the member for the cooperatives services and equipment when we buy their electricity.  We just pay them for their electricity we purchase from them, similar to how we pay our wholesale electricity providers. 

So, for the best financial advantage, a member with grid-tied solar should try to use every single kWh their unit makes. For every kWh of their own solar used, they’re avoiding purchasing a kWh at a price higher than they would be paid.