In our last article we discussed the monthly monetary savings gained by installing a solar panel system. While it’s certainly advantageous to improve your bottom line, the other energy benefit is unseen, but actually even more important. By installing photovoltaic panels with Solaron of Sacramento, you reduce the amount of carbon-based fuels consumed to power your household. How much effect does this actually have on utility consumption?
Doing the Energy Math
Natural gas is the heavy lifter in California when it comes to producing electricity, responsible for nearly half the power used in this state. Coal and oil are only a small part of the energy equation, so for simplicity sake, we will say that half your electricity comes from natural gas. Based on your specific utility’s buying patterns, you could be indirectly using more or less gas to power your house, but 50% is a reasonable assumption.
Every kilowatt-hour of electricity (kWh) produced with natural gas releases .55 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (that’s half the greenhouse gas released by coal). A UC Irvine professor has calculated that the average person in California uses 2000 kWh per year. So a household of four people consumes 8,000 kWh of power. If half that power comes from natural gas, an average family of four in California annually releases over two metric tons (that’s about 4,500 pounds) of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere just to power their electronic devices.
Enter the Solar Panels
So if you have four people in your household and install an average system that generates 2.5 to 3 kilowatts — very doable with highly efficient panels from SunPower — you can completely mitigate the natural gas that would otherwise be used by a utility to power your house in California. This is definitely looking at the issue from a statistical perspective, but the implications are still impressive. You can generate enough power from your own solar panels so that a utility could use only non-carbon energy sources to power your home.
There are many other options that our agents can discuss to further improve your ecological impact. These include sending unused solar power back to the grid and/or storing that power onsite with a battery bank. Whether you choose these additional options or not, recognize the fact that installing solar panels helps you take a tremendous stride towards improving future prospects regarding climate change. For more information, contact Solaron at 916-631-9293 or email us via our contact form.