In last month’s article (link) we learned about Solar Energy and how solar panels in a Solar Electric
“Photovoltaic” System can reduce or eliminate your electric bill, provide a solid economic investment and help lower your carbon footprint and associated contribution to global climate change. As professional renewable energy consultants, we find that most people can significantly cut or entirely eliminate their CFE electric bills by utilizing the following “Top Ten List”.
1. Educate yourself and stay informed: Learn how to read your meter, CFE electric bill and understand how the electric rate structures work here in Mexico. Most people are shocked to find out that electric rates can be 3-4 times more expensive than up North. Billing errors are very common, difficult to understand and have corrected- especially if you do not know what you are looking at except the total amount to pay and the cut-off date.
2. Lighting: Turn off all of those lights at night that you are not using. Yes you! Next, replace all incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents (ahorradoras) or even better with LED’s. Start by replacing lights that are on for the most hours of the evening. Be sure to select bulbs with the color spectrum you like. Most people prefer warm light (2700 K`). If the light bulb package is written in Spanish, look for “Luz Calida” not “Luz Blanca” or “Luz del Día” which is the bright white/bluish color that most people do not like.
3. Get yourself an energy use meter such as the popular the “Kill-A-Watt”. This device will show exactly how much electricity a device is using and the associated monthly cost. It will also better help you understand and learn the basics of electricity and power consumption.
4. Place all TV’s, stereos, computers and other electronics on power strips to stop “phantom loads” or vampire energy losses. Turn off the main switch when not in use to eliminate all unwanted standby loads. The US Energy Star program estimates that up to 10% or more of a modern household’s energy consumption is wasted on these devices while in standby mode.
5. Replace that old refrigerator, freezer and other appliances with a new model certified with the FIDE seal. A good general rule of thumb is that if the appliance is more than 5 years old, it is probably worth replacing from an energy efficiency cost perspective. For more information, see www.fide.org.mx *Mexico’s Energy Star
6. If you have a swimming pool, it is likely that 30-50+% of your electric bill is directly related to your swimming pool pump. Make sure your swimming pool pump is on a timer. Now adjust that timer back to the minimum amount of hours possible without turning the water green. 2-3 hours is usually sufficient depending on the time of year, climate and amount of people who use the pool.
7. Replace your swimming pool pump with a new energy efficient model. Modern, high efficiency, variable speed pool pumps can easily save 70-90% on electrical use for pool pumping. Yes they cost more but are worth every peso.
8. Air Conditioners: If you really must use an air conditioner- raise up the temperature or thermostat a few degrees. Be sure to purchase an ¨Inverter¨ type model with the highest SEER rating possible (16-24). Heaters: Cool weather can be found in Mexico so be smart with the use of electric heaters of any type. Make sure they are unplugged when not in use.
9. Think about the lovely water fountains and those outside garden lights that are often on all day and night long. Have timers, motion sensors or dusk-to-dawn sensors installed.
10. Install a high quality eSun Energy Solar Electric Photovoltaic “PV” System to get you out of the highest electric tariff rates, especially the dreaded “DAC” rate. Connect to the Sun!
For more information on solar energy and solar panels in Mexico: www.esunenergy.com or 01.800.099.0272 Guadalajara Puerto Vallarta Ajijic Chapala Manzanillo Colima Mexico City. All rights reserved, eSun Energía S.A. de C.V.
Manzanillo Sun’s eMagazine written by local authors about living in Manzanillo and Mexico, since 2009