It is surprising how high electric bills are nowadays. Over time, more people are investing in solar energy to power their homes and businesses. But, it is more unexpecting to see a high electric bill despite depending less on electricity.
Have you asked yourself, “Why is my electric bill so high even with solar panels?” when you are expecting cost savings? We know this is disappointing.
Let’s understand solar energy costs and why electric bill skyrockets.
Factors That Could Affect Solar Panel Efficiency
Solar panels are devices that help us generate electricity. It allows us to conserve resources and save from expensive electric bills. But, several factors affect their efficiency.
Extreme weather conditions
Let’s start with how dependent solar panels are on weather. All solar-powered devices need sunlight to function. Solar panels cannot generate enough energy on gloomy and rainy days.
The weather and daylight hours are factors we cannot control. But there are other factors that we can manage.
Solar panel angle and orientation
Solar panels need enough sunlight to generate electricity. But, to have this, you must install the panel at the correct location. You ensure it is at the right angle and direction to receive enough sunlight.
Besides finding the right angle and orientation, face the panels south or southwest. Give them a slight tilt of 30 to 45 degrees to the sun.
Shades and obstructions within the surrounding
When installing them in the right location, check their surroundings. Obstructive structures such as surrounding trees and buildings may be present. These affect the solar panel’s performance. Obstructions block the sun from reaching the panels.
Install them far from obstructions and at the proper angle and direction. Always look for a site where shadows do not cast. These ensure your solar panel has enough sunlight.
Dust, dirt, and debris on the solar panels
Solar panels are always under harsh weather conditions. They accumulate dirt, dust, and debris on their surface. If you leave the solar panels uncleaned, dirt and dust hinder them from generating power.
Hence, cleaning your solar panels more often is essential. A clean surface guarantees they can absorb enough sunlight.
Age and degradation of solar panels
Solar panels degrade as it ages. And when it does, it loses its efficiency in generating electricity. That is why you should always check and maintain your solar panels to ensure optimal function.
Energy Consumption Habits Affect Solar Energy Costs
It is common for people to look for ways that reduce their electricity bills. But, some of us are too trusting in solar power systems. We sometimes overlook other possibilities.
Do you know our consumption habits are one of the contributors to their high electric bills?
We have several energy-intensive appliances. If you use them in excess, it leads to high energy bills. An example of this is the use of air conditioning for longer hours. When you use it longer, it results in increased energy costs. Instead of using it all day, would it be best to use it when you feel hot?
If the heating and cooling system is ineffective, this may also lead to higher energy bills.
Defective heating and cooling system
Inefficient heating and cooling systems use more energy. They have to cope with the demand to keep their home well-ventilated. It may also lessen the solar panel system’s performance. It becomes a challenge to meet its energy needs.
But, if the HVAC system is in good condition, yet your energy cost is still high, the problem is in your home. Inspect for poor insulation and air leaks. These could be the culprit of the notable energy loss.
Air can escape, causing difficulties for your HVAC system to cool or heat your home. Energy loss can lead to increased energy consumption and bills. It may also decrease the efficiency of your solar panel system.
Standby power consumption
Meanwhile, standby power consumption is a significant contributor that is often ignored. But appliances do not consume energy when only plugged in or turned on, even when unused. But they do.
Rather than neglecting the unused plugged appliances, turn them off and unplug them. It helps reduce power consumption.
If you are conscious of your energy, downsize your energy consumption and conserve a lot. But, if this is not the case, other reasons may inhibit optimization.
Inaccurate System Sizing and Installation
But, at other times, our consumption habits are not the culprit. You have to check some installation inaccuracies. These may be what drove the electricity bill to become higher.
Let’s start with the most typical inaccuracy: incorrect system size and faulty wiring.
Inaccurate size of the solar panel system
Some choose their solar panel system, which may not be enough for their energy needs. An undersized solar panel system cannot generate enough power. It cannot meet the energy needs of your home or business. Moreover, it cannot power the battery of your solar panel, which shortens its lifespan.
Hence, choose the right solar panel system size to meet your energy needs.
If you have the correct solar panel system size, but the issue still exists, check its wiring system. [How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Power My Home?]
Incorrect wiring system
Faulty wiring of your solar panel system lessens efficiency. It cannot collect and distribute solar energy. Hence, your solar panels cannot generate power for your home or business. These also cause problems such as safety hazards and system malfunction.
If the size and wiring are correct, yet your bills are still high, there must be an issue with the other components. What should you do?
Check its inverter. Inverters are liable for energizing your home or business. A malfunctioning inverter can reduce the solar panel’s efficiency. Inverters are accountable for converting DC power to AC. The AC handles energizing homes or businesses.
If the inverter is malfunctioning or inefficient, it cannot convert energy. It directs inadequate power supply and potential safety hazards.
Indeed, the inaccuracies bring such nuisance. That is why it is best to be cautious when installing solar panels to dodge these troubles.
Ways to Reduce Electric Bills with Solar Panels
Lowering our electric bill does not stop at having a solar power system installed. The measures to decrease our electricity bill goes beyond transforming our habits. It is about more than solar installation but behavior reformation.
Now you know the common pitfalls of your consumption habits, it is time to change. These guarantee your investment is worth every dime:
- Solar panel systems need maintenance to preserve their efficiency. The routine includes cleaning and inspecting all connections.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances and practice energy-saving habits.
- Conduct a home energy audit to pinpoint the possibilities that need improvement.
- Upgrade the solar panel system to generate more electricity. It loosens your reliance on the grid.
You can tell if these tips work because your energy bill matches your energy usage. Monitoring helps you know and adapt ways to lower your electric bill.
Learning About Utility Policies and Incentives
Learning about policies and incentives can take time and effort. Still, you must know them. So to make a wise judgment and enhance your solar panel system, learn these:
- Net metering and feed-in tariffs. These two programs work the same. Net metering gives you credit for the extra electricity generated and sent back to the grid. You can use the credits and deduct them from your electricity bills. Meanwhile, the feed-in tariffs pay you. It has a set rate for every unit of electricity your solar panel generates and sends back to the grid.
- Tax credits and rebates. Review the federal and state tax credits and rebates available in your location. It helps lessen installation costs and makes the investment more attainable.
- Community solar programs are helpful for those who want to switch off-grid. These people cannot install it on their property or do not have a suitable roof for a solar panel system. You can join the program to have the chance to enjoy the benefits of having a solar panel system.
Remember, policies and incentives may vary depending on location and utility provider. Do research to ensure you understand what is available.
If you need help, seek help from a solar power professional.
Ask for Help from a Solar Power Professional
Understanding the factors of solar energy cost needs proper guidance. Seek professional help for advice, consultation, or repair.
Sometimes, our solar panel requires a professional assessment. It helps determine the issues that may have caused the high electric bill.
Thorough evaluation specifies the cause of why the solar panel generates less power. It tells the experts what to troubleshoot and fix.
These experts are also consultants. You can ask for practical tips on how to optimize your energy use. Consultants also help you make energy-efficient upgrades to enhance your solar panel system.
Several people invest in solar power systems to lower their electric bills. But it still concerns a few. Why their electricity bill is so high even with solar power? Well, people should know that having a lower cost is not guaranteed.
Energy costs may still skyrocket because of a few factors. Some factors are uncontrollable, but others are from our actions. Lowering the costs does not end with solar power installation. It would be best to change our consumption habits.
Now that you know, take a step back. Assess what you need to optimize your solar panel system.