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How LED Lights Help You Get the Most From Your Solar Panels

LED lights and solar panels

It’s no secret that solar panel systems are a tremendous help with reducing energy bills and creating a “greener” environment. They’re becoming more popular every year as their prices continue to fall—allowing for more savings. According to energy.gov, the price of solar panels has dropped by more than 60 percent since 2010. With more and more businesses and homeowners realizing the savings potential, it’s no wonder why 1,508,000 solar panel systems have been installed nationwide. Savings can be upward of $30,000 depending on a state’s cost of electricity, the cost of solar panels, and system size. However, the fact that you own a solar panel system doesn’t mean you’re maximizing your energy savings potential to its fullest. You can get more out of your solar panel system if you use energy-efficient products, such as LED lights.

LEDs are the most energy-efficient lighting technology available today. They consume 80 percent less power than incandescent bulbs, 75 percent less than halogen bulbs, 20 percent less than compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, and 80 percent less than HID bulbs. Using LED lights in place of less efficient lighting sources reduces the amount of energy consumed from your panels, which allows you to use your solar panel’s power for other things or for a longer length of time.

LED lights versus incandescent and halogen

LED vs CFL - Energy Consumed and Light Produced

Energy Consumed at Equivalent Light Output - LED vs HID

A typical 250-watt solar panel can be expected to produce about 30 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in a month. This is based on a roof getting 4 hours of usable sunlight per day, which is the average for roofs in the United States. According to a 2015 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential U.S. utility customers consumed an average of 901 kWh per month. Often solar panels don’t provide 100 percent of the power a home or business needs. This is because there simply aren’t enough panels to cover the total energy use, or they don’t provide enough wattage. The rest is left to standard electricity. Also, solar panels only provide so much power. Once a solar panel runs out of energy, it can’t power anything else until it’s re-energized by the sun. Using lights that consume more power will run a panel out of energy faster; this results in the need for standard electricity, which costs money.

LED lights not only maximize savings because they require less energy from your panels; they also last longer than alternative light sources. LEDs can last more than 50,000 hours—42 times longer than incandescent bulbs, 13 times longer than halogen bulbs, five times longer than CFL bulbs, and three times longer than HID bulbs. Their long life spans reduce bulb replacement costs and maintenance costs.

LED lights and solar panels - LED life span

In addition to their cost-saving benefits, LED lights, along with solar panels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As mentioned previously, they consume less power than alternative lighting sources. This slows the energy use from your panel, which reduces the need for traditional power. Less fossil fuels used to create electricity means less greenhouse gas emissions. A 5,000-watt solar panel system can eliminate 4.7 tons of carbon dioxide that would be created by using traditional power; that’s the equivalent of what one vehicle emits in a year.

In addition to having better energy practices, such as unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, turning lights off when you leave a room, and choosing more efficient electronics, using LED lights can be a huge help with lowering energy bills. They’re beneficial in more ways than energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. For more reasons why LEDs are so great, visit our LED vs. Incandescent and Halogen, LED vs. CFL and Fluorescent, and LED vs. HID posts.