Thinking about going solar or adding other energy efficiency upgrades in your home? Check out our various residential loan programs that can support your home improvement projects here.

Benefits of Solar Energy

There’s no question that solar has grown in popularity in recent years. In fact, in 2023, the solar industry installed over 32.4 gigawatts-direct current (GWdc) of capacity, which increased by a record-breaking 51% over 2022. Our beautiful state of Colorado made major progress in solar adoption, ranking in the top 5 solar states in 2023. A total of 1.6 gigawatts of solar capacity was installed in the state—10 times more than was installed in 2022.

But, what is solar energy? Solar energy can be defined as light or heat from the sun that is converted to energy to heat, cool, and light homes and businesses. It is the most abundant and cleanest renewable energy source available. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the United States is home to some of the most plentiful solar resources globally which presents a unique opportunity for harnessing this type of clean energy.

Solar technologies like solar panels can tap into this enormous energy reserve, offering a variety of applications. From generating electricity to brighten spaces and ensure comfortable indoor spaces, to heating water for a wide range of purposes in residential, commercial, and industrial settings, solar power is a versatile solution. It can address diverse energy needs sustainably and plays a pivotal role in shaping a more environmentally conscious and energy-efficient future.

Low Hanging Fruit: Energy Efficiency Upgrades

In addition to solar panels, there are also energy efficiency upgrades that homeowners should consider as they work toward reducing their carbon footprint. New data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory outlines the top improvements that greatly impact electricity-saving potential for homeowners in Colorado. Some of these improvements include upgrading to LED lighting, installing a new heat pump or water heater, improving home insulation, and adding a smart thermostat.

Investing in solar panels offers a significant long-term benefit; once the initial investment is recouped, electricity costs can drop substantially, if not entirely. However, energy efficiency upgrades offer an immediate impact. These projects immediately cut down on heat loss and energy expenses. To optimize the energy efficiency journey, it might be worth considering prioritizing energy efficiency improvements before committing to solar panels. By doing so, homeowners can ensure that their solar system is appropriately sized to accommodate reduced energy needs.

So, how do you get started? Conducting a home energy audit with a trained professional can guide homeowners in making informed decisions tailored to meet their needs based on current energy usage. By having an understanding of where energy is being used the most in a particular household, owners can have a much clearer idea of what clean energy and energy efficiency improvements to prioritize. Homeowners can reach out to their local government energy office to find a professional energy assessor or view a directory of certified professionals near you through the Residential Energy Services Network.

How Solar and Energy Efficiency Work Together

Solar technologies and energy efficiency upgrades complement each other seamlessly in the journey to a sustainable and cost-effective home. While solar panels harness the power of the sun to generate electricity, energy efficiency upgrades ensure that every kilowatt-hour produced is utilized efficiently. By implementing measures like LED lighting, improved insulation, and energy-efficient HVAC equipment, homeowners can minimize energy waste, thereby reducing their overall electricity consumption.

Pairing solar with energy efficiency upgrades allows for a more comprehensive approach to energy management, resulting in greater financial savings and environmental benefits over the long term. With the addition of energy efficiency improvements, it will require less solar energy to power homes, which extends savings potential. Together, these technologies create a mutually beneficial relationship, paving the way for a more sustainable, comfortable home.

Ready to take charge of your energy future and maximize the benefits of solar and energy efficiency upgrades for your home? Click here to explore our residential financing solutions to help you adopt clean energy without breaking the bank.