Solar and energy efficiency, when considered together will result in a better solution for a homeowner than either one considered separately. Though some may believe installing solar energy or implementing energy efficiency measures alone are a sufficient method for saving money on their electricity bill, the truth is that these two practices should be considered two halves of a clean energy whole.
Rhode Island remains one of the best states to pursue energy efficiency improvements as well as solar installations. Rhode Island ranks within the top 5 states in the nation for energy efficiency policy and programs due to statewide efforts and progressive leadership in organizations such as the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, New England Clean Energy Council, Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, National Grid, Acadia Center, and others. In addition, the growth of solar in Rhode Island can be attributed to the incentive paths available to homeowners that make solar energy accessible and affordable. These programs include Net Metering supported by the Renewable Energy Fund, as well as the Renewable Energy Growth Program administered by National Grid.
There are many reasons to go solar; the major consideration for most people is cost. A study from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) finds that implementing energy efficient technologies can significantly lower the needed size and thus, price of a solar system. One great article can be found here. When combined, energy efficiency lowered the cost of solar by 3-6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Solar Energy International (SEI) also suggests that for every $1 spent on energy efficiency measures can result in $2 -$4 saved on cost of your solar system due to a smaller electrical load. Remember, the cheapest kilowatt hours are the ones you never have to buy!
Fortunately, in Rhode Island there are many ways you can conserve energy before purchasing and installing a solar array. One way to take control of your energy usage is to schedule a free home energy audit from National Grid to learn how small changes in your home can have a big impact. If you are building a new home and are in search of an energy efficiency conscious builder, check out the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home Partner Locator. Newport Solar has worked with DeMetrick Housewrights, Caldwell and Johnson, and Swanson Construction in the past to integrate efficiency with an appropriately sized solar array. While considering efficiency, call Newport Solar to discuss your current electricity bill and how to explore your solar options in concert with efficiency measures.