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Energy Questions Answered

Use LEDs to Save on Solar

In case you haven’t heard, light emitting diode (LED) bulbs use about 15% of the energy of equivalent incandescent bulbs, 20% of the energy of equivalent halogens and 67% of the energy of equivalent fluorescents. What this means for you is big savings on your energy bills. For example, if a household was to replace (30) 60-watt incandescent bulbs with LEDs, it could expect to save about $240 per year in lighting costs. At a cost of $1.50 per bulb, that makes for a 2-month payback period!

And the good news doesn’t end there. Let’s say that same household wanted to offset all of its electricity use with solar. Before switching to LEDs, perhaps that home would require a 5-kilowatt solar array at an upfront cost of $15,000. With the LEDs saving 2,200 kilowatt-hours annually, the home would require a much smaller solar array to offset its electricity use – specifically, it could downsize to a 3.5 kW array. This is where the real savings come in: the household would save $4,500 in upfront costs by installing this smaller PV system, which would still offset all of its electricity use.

Although the example shown here may be toward the extreme end of what typical households may expect to save if switching to LED (as most households have at least some fluorescent, halogen, or LED bulbs installed already), it’s still illustrative of the power of energy efficiency. Before going solar, reduce your electricity use as much as possible, see the results in your bills, and then ask a contractor to size your system appropriately. It could save you thousands!


  • Electricity costs $0.11/kWh
  • Each bulb is on for an average of 4 hours per day

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