There is lot of buzz in the world around renewable sources of energy and even energy efficiency. Renewables truly have potential to solve all the energy problems in the world, but one has to think efficiency first. If the electrical and electronics systems are not efficient then the size of renewable system required will be more, which will not just require more space but will also be more expensive. So although renewables and energy efficiency are treated as separate areas but they are truly very interrelated and one should take them together.
Renewable energy is also electricity
When we think of using renewables (solar or wind or any other source), we should first accept that we are using these sources to generate electricity. The appliances that we will connect to these sources will be electrical appliances that will consume electricity. The bigger the need of electricity, bigger is the system required to generate electricity. As renewable sources are not very cheap, we have to understand that a bigger system will be expensive. To reduce the cost, the best approach is to reduce the electricity requirement of the systems connected to it and using efficient appliances is the best way to do that.
Plan for efficient appliance before renewable
Before you start your renewable project analyze the systems that will run on it. Plan for these before buying a PV (Photovoltaic system):
- Try replacing incandescent bulbs, inefficient tubelights and halogen lamps with CFLs, energy efficient tubelights or LEDs for the best case.
- Try replacing old inefficient ceiling fans with energy efficient ceiling fans. Please note that ceiling fans can be biggest contributor to your electricity bills in percentage terms (especially if you do not use air conditioners).
- If you plan to use solar water heaters, make sure that the insulation is perfect for that. You can try using thermal insulating paints to make sure that standing losses on the water heater is less.
- If you are planning to use photovoltaic for air conditioners, make sure that the thermal insulation of the room is proper so that the heat flow in the room is less.
- LED TVs are much more energy efficient than any other type of TV, thus plan for replacing the same before using Solar to power your house.
- Replace all old appliances with energy efficient appliances so that the connected load of the house is less.
Reducing connected load can have multiple benefits
We talked about connected load in one of our earlier articles (link). Connected load is a value that is derived by summing up wattage of all the appliances connected to a meter. Reducing the same not just helps you reduce your electricity bill; it also helps you if you are planning for a renewable project. Lesser the connected load, lesser the electric bill and smaller the size of a renewable system required.
So always think efficiency before renewable.
Reference: Go Solar California