If you have solar panels mounted neatly to your roof, you’re probably feeling pretty great (rightly so!) about turning your home’s energy supply green. You’re probably also noticing some nice changes on your monthly power bills. Good feelings all around. But is there more you could be doing to get the biggest bang for your solar-panel buck? Yes. And we think you’ll find the options to be pretty cool.
Here are some green gadgets available for your home that can make the most of all the powerful energy you’re gaining from the sun. Incorporating some of this technology can help you use your solar energy more wisely or store your energy for later. Not to mention the extra green it could put into your wallet, too!
Go For a Green Yard
We don’t just mean nurturing a healthy lawn. Changing some of your frequently used outdoor equipment can maximize the energy you use from your solar panels - so you spend less on things like gasoline - and cut your carbon emissions.
If you’re picturing mowing your lawn with an annoying cord attached to a power outlet, or stopping half-way through the job to recharge the mower, you’ll be relieved to know electric yard care equipment is pretty sophisticated these days. Many manufacturers now offer machines that easily run long enough on a single battery to finish a job - and you can charge your battery during peak sun hours to ensure you’re using as much of your rooftop-generated power as possible.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably used to breathing a little exhaust while you trim your grass or hedges. And in the cold winter air, smog from your snow blower can linger right in your face, which isn’t good for you or the environment around your home. Switching to electric means switching to zero emissions. Plus, no more running to the gas station when you run out of fuel - just switch out your rechargeable battery.
Many yard equipment manufacturers offer electric lawn mowers, snow blowers, trimmers, chainsaws and other power tools that share a battery - so you can buy just one or two batteries to power all your gear (with two, you’ll always have a backup). Some even use the same battery you may already have if you own a power drill or other tools by the same manufacturer.
Interested in switching? Popular Mechanics put together a list of the best battery-powered outdoor power tools - see it here if you need somewhere to start. If you’re looking for convenience and don’t mind spending a little more, you might also consider a robotic lawn mower - it’s like a Roomba for your grass!
Choose Electric Inside, Too
It’s the same principle as converting outdoor tools to electric - the more indoor appliances you power with your solar panels, the more you save! And you help improve the air quality, since your electricity comes from a zero emissions source, unlike natural gas or propane which still release emissions.
When you’re ready to upgrade an appliance that comes in both gas and electric options - such as a clothes dryer or oven - pick electric! Electric models are less expensive anyway, and now you can even decide how “smart” you want those appliances to be - some washers and dryers are compatible with home assistants like Google Home or Amazon Echo and can be managed through an app.
Consider a Home Battery
Home batteries are another piece of technology that has significantly changed (for the better) in recent years. When paired with your rooftop solar panels, your solar energy can charge the battery during the day so you can use that power during peak energy use hours when time-of-use rates spike. Depending on your area’s net metering offerings, a battery can also maximize your financial savings by reducing the power you need to draw from the grid.
Even if you’ve looked into home batteries when your solar panels were first installed, the new options are worth another look.
You don’t have to make every upgrade right now - after all, you’ve already made a huge improvement to your energy use by switching to solar! Celebrate your green wins today and keep these options in mind for making improvements as you continue to enjoy the benefits of solar energy.
To find out even more tips on how to make your home more green, visit our post about saving money and energy here.