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Solar Energy Alerts! | January 2011 |
Solar Energy Alerts Newsletter

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In This Issue...

  1. How Much Can a PV System Save You Every Month?
  2. What's New on
  3. Upcoming Solar Energy Events

How Much Can a PV System Save You Every Month?

Solar Power Savings! It has a nice ring to it.

But have you ever taken the time to actually figure out how much you would save every month if you installed a solar power system?

It's easy to do and could be just the incentive you need to bring your solar vision to life.

How To Determine Your Cost Savings

There are two approaches you can take to estimate the potential cost savings of a PV system: the Professional Estimate approach and the DIY Estimate approach.

Keep in mind that, regardless of which approach you use, the cost savings potential is only an estimate which is based on some assumptions. Because of this, neither way will give you a perfect answer.

In reality, you need to use both approaches to make a good decision on whether a solar PV system is right for you. This will give you a potential cost savings range that you can use for making your decision on whether to move forward with your solar PV system.

The Assumptions

Before we take a closer look at the two ways to determine your potential cost savings, you need to determine your assumptions for two key areas...

  • PV System Size, measured in Watts (W)
  • Amount of Electricity to be Replaced, measured in Kilowatt-Hours (kWh) or as a percentage of total electricity used

These two areas are directly related. If your system size increase, the amount of electricity from the utility your system will replace increases as well. You need to make sure that all of your estimates are based on the same assumptions.

The Professional Estimate Approach

The first way to estimate your potential cost savings is with the Professional Estimate. It is called the Professional Estimate because you take advantage of the experience of one or more professional solar power system contractors.

Most contractors will provide a free estimate as part of their sales process. Their estimate will include both the costs of the system as well as the savings you can realize.

I recommend you get at least three Professional Estimates. Remember, make sure all of the estimates are based on the same assumptions!

The DIY Estimate Approach

The second way to estimate your potential cost savings is with the DIY Estimate. As the name implies, you perform this estimate yourself. Using the assumptions you defined earlier, this is a two step process.

Step 1: Determine Your Average Monthly Energy Use

You can determine your average monthly energy use by looking at your electric bill for the past 12 months. Simply add up how much electricity you used during that period and divide by 12. This will tell you how many kWh of electricity you used on average each month.

Step 2: Calculate Savings

To calculate your potential savings, multiply your average monthly energy use by how much each kWh costs to determine your average electricity costs per month. Multiply that result by the percentage of electricity your system will replace. This will tell you how many dollars you will save each month.

DIY Solar Savings Example:

Average Monthly Energy Use = 1,000 kWh
Cost per kWh = $0.20
Average Electricity Costs per Month = $200
Percentage of Electricity to Replace = 40%
Cost Savings per Month = $200 x 40% = $80

I also suggest performing a second DIY Estimate using an online calculator. You can find one by running a Google search for the term solar power calculator.

At this point, you will now have at least 3 Professional Estimates and 2 DIY Estimates. This should give you a good idea of the potential savings a PV system can provide for you.

What's New on

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Upcoming Solar Energy Events

Featured Solar Energy Events

These are the events that readers have submitted to our database...

Other Solar Energy Events

Here are some other solar and renewable energy events that you may be interested in attending...

Date Location Event
Jan 5-7 Minneapolis, MN, USA Northern Green Expo
Jan 8 Monmouth Junction, NJ, USA Free Solar Seminar
Jan 9 Aurora, CO, USA Solar Science, Myths and Misconceptions
Jan 12 Ipswich, MA, USA Ipswich Free Solar Energy Seminar
Jan 17 Bucharest, Romania Wind Technology & Market Briefing
Jan 18 Winchester, MA, USA Winchester Solar Seminar
Jan 19 Abu Dhabi, UAE Training Seminar On Solar Resource Assessment
Jan 19 Long Beach, NY, USA The Green Seminar Series: Solar Energy┬ůWhat is it?
Jan 24 Las Vegas, NV, USA Solar Technology Briefing
Jan 26-27 Honolulu, HI, USA Solar Training Summit For Installers
Jan 27 Las Vegas, NV, USA Solar Economics
Jan 29 Seattle, WA, USA Solarize Queen Anne: Solar 101
Feb 2 Westwood, MA, USA Solar Energy Seminar: Is Solar Right For You?
Feb 8 Maynard, MA, USA Maynard Solar Seminar
Feb 15 Las Vegas, NV, USA Rooftop Photovoltaics: Energizing Your Business
Feb 16 London, UK Renewable Power Technologies
Feb 16 Honolulu, HI, USA The Solar Energy Course for Architects, Engineers & Contractors
Feb 16-18 Goyang, Korea Expo Solar | PV Korea 2011
Feb 19-20 Hattiesburg, MS, USA Sustainable Living: 2011 Conference
Mar 1-3 Raleigh, NC, USA Solar Training Summit For Installers
Mar 4-5 Boston, MA, USA MIT Energy Conference
Mar 11-14 Istanbul, Turkey Solar & PV Technologies Exhibition
Mar 28 Milan, Italy PV Technology Briefing
Apr 12-14 Atlantic City, NJ, USA Solar Training Summit For Installers
Apr 12-14 Nanjing, China Clean Energy World Expo
Apr 13 New York City, NY, USA Green Products Expo
Apr 15-16 Phoenix, AZ, USA BIG Green Expo & Conference
Apr 15-17 Los Angeles, CA, USA Go Green Expo
Apr 16 Plano, TX, USA Live Green Expo
Apr 19-21 Mumbai, India PV + Solar Expo India
Apr 30 Peterborough, ON, Canada 8th Annual Green Expo 2011
May 7-8 Saint Paul, MN, USA Living Green Expo
Jul 12-14 San Francisco, CA, USA Intersolar North America

Do you know of any solar energy or green-living events happening in your area? Add them to the database using our online Submit Form. It's quick and easy.

In Closing...

Is there a residential solar energy topic you'd like more information about? If so, let me know through my Contact page (make sure to note that you subscribe to Solar Energy Alerts! so I can put your request to the top of the list). I'm always looking for topics of interest to readers.

Michael's Signature