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Dirt-Cheap Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Solar Costs through Energy Efficiency.

NOT Energy Efficient (Photo: Flickr/egodfrey13)

Solar Fred loves solar and women and beer but he’s also not one to waste beer a nickel on his utility bill, even for important things like keeping his beer vegetables chilled in the fridge.

So I’m naturally prone to being very cheap energy efficient, and if you’re thinking about going solar, you should be equally concerned about the cost of chilling your veggies and such. The fact is that the more energy efficient your home is, the cheaper it is for you to go solar.

This isn’t a new concept that I made up in drunken stupor. In fact, if you’re going to take advantage of San Francisco’s new PACE program, you’re required to get a home energy audit and improve your energy efficiency first before going solar.

But even without getting an official energy audit, there are plenty of dirt-cheap things you can do to reduce your dirty, coal-fired 19th century, polluting utility bill and at the same time reduce your solar cost by reducing your need to a smaller size solar system.

Allow me to list some dirt-cheap ways that you can be more energy efficient.

Shut off the lights. I know this sounds so easy, but there’s a reason your father was always yelling at you to turn off those lights when you’re not in the room. You have a lot of light bulbs. Keeping them on when no one’s using them is wasting tons of power and money that you could be spending on more beer important things.

Change those lights to CFLs. Tommy Edison’s 19th century incandescent light bulbs waste 6 times as much power as CFLs and even more compared to LED bulbs. Count how many incandescent bulbs you have in your house, especially those outdoor flood lights that are on all night. Now think about 6 times. Six times the money you’re wasting lighting up the bushes. At least use CFL flood lights. Over the course of the year, it’s just nuts to waste that much in alcohol and date money household expenses.

Your old refrigerator sucks power. Refrigerators serve an important role in keeping your vegetables and vodka and frozen pizza other nutritious substances chilled and preserved. But they suck power like Solar Fred downs martinis water on a hot summer day. Buy a new Energy Star refrigerator. Many states have rebate programs to encourage you to get a new fridge. Use them.

Other Fridge Power Saving Tips. Your fridge works hard to keep your frozen dinners food chilled, but every time you open the door and think about what to reheat for dinner, you’re making it work harder and thus use more power to keep the fridge cold. So don’t stare. Get what you need and shut the door. Also, if possible, move the fridge away from anything that emits heat, like your stove, dryer, or dishwasher. Use a vacuum cleaner for once every 6 months to clear off the dust from the coils in the back of your fridge and under your unused exercise machines. Do the same for the lint in the back of your dryer. All of these things make those machines draw more power to do what they have to do.

Retire your dryer. That’s right. If you want to save tons of cash, especially if you have an electric dryer, start air -drying your clothes on a clothes line. Your clothes will last longer also, and of course, you’ll have some fresh air once a month week.

Put your electronics on a power strip. You charge your cell phone, your blue tooth, and all of these other devices at night. Fine. But before you leave during the day, pull those plugs or put them all on a power strip and shut that puppy off. Because those things are still bleeding cash out of your utility bill while you’re at work. Same for your television, your Wii, your desktop computer, and whatever other battery charged naughtiness feel-good exercise equipment you have charging under the bed.

Bottom line: Save more money for beer and drinking responsibly with energy efficiency and then go solar. Wonder how much it might cost to go solar? Benchmark yourself and get a quote.

Last modified: July 17, 2019

6 thoughts on “Dirt-Cheap Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Solar Costs through Energy Efficiency.

  1. Avatar for Josh Josh says:

    You guys rock, great tips. Solar combined with this is the way to total energy independence, for sure. I hang dry, the clothes definitely last longer, totally worth it.

  2. Avatar for kelly kelly says:

    trying to a energy audit on traditional light bulbs vrs low energy loght bulbs per year savings

  3. Avatar for Eric Eric says:

    Just for fun I figured out the cost of a clothesline vs. solar PV to cover electricity use of the dryer. Bottom line: Get a clothesline! It’s like DIY solar for $0.09 a watt. ;)

  4. Avatar for S. Mark Florence S. Mark Florence says:

    “Solar Fred,”

    A couple of other suggestions to reduce the energy consumption of a refrigerator:

    1) Clean the coils.
    2) Make sure the temperature in the freezer is between 0-5 degrees F.
    3) Make sure the temperature in the refrigerator is between 35-40 degrees F.

    I just finished making these adjustments and was able to reduce my refrigerator consumption by just over 5%; after a year, that will provide over 3 days of energy for my entire house.

  5. Avatar for PVAddict PVAddict says:

    That was awesome. I laughed obnoxiously several times, enough so that I got the Evil Eye from those watching TV in the same room; not once but TWICE. Much appreciated, I needed that.

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Any time for a PV Addict. :)

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