Saving energy and the Duck Curve

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Wondering How The Duck Curve Affects Your Energy Costs? If Not, You Should Be!

Energy efficiency are popular buzzwords nowadays, but did you know that the California powers that be (and we’re talking people, not things that plug in) have decided that early evening hours will become the costliest time of day for your utility usage? In other words, to really save on your utility bills, you’re going to need to “give your appliances the evening off,” or curtail usage from 4-10PM. That means that adjust the thermostat, running your dishwasher or even doing a load of laundry during this period will run up your energy bills significantly.

Need a break

Energy Availability from Solar Depends on Time of Day

It’s part of what pundits are calling the “duck curve.” Why? Well, well get to that. In the past 20 years, there have been a lot of solar panels installed on Southern California homes. That’s a good thing, right? Well, kind of. What it means is that when the sun is shining, these solar panels have plenty of power to supply demand as people go about their days. In fact, this is the “duck belly” on an energy graph. There’s lots of energy flowing, and there’s lots of usage. Life is good.

SolarEvening Usage Is Expensive

However, when the sun starts to set, the picture changes. Obviously there’s no such thing as lunar energy, so solar panel output declines. However, around 4PM, power plant demand steps up. This presents a problem. With less energy to accommodate rising demand, you are now looking at the “duck neck” on an energy graph. The situation peaks at about 6PM, until it falls off around 9PM, when many people start heading off to bed and turning off their lights.

New Ways of Charging You for Your Energy

In short, energy is easy for the utility companies to supply during the day. It gets dicier when the sun goes down. For that reason, the utilities are responding by installing “smart meters,” mechanisms that will charge you more for energy usage at peak evening hours, and less for that which you use during the day. Because of that, you’ll want to do laundry, run your dishwasher, charge your Tesla and crank up the HVAC during the day, avoiding the high cost rates from 4-9PM.

Save Money by Planning Ahead

Expensive timeWhen you get home from work or school, wait on that laundry until after 9PM or better yet, do it in the morning. If you want to turn down the thermostat, hold off until going to bed. Your wallet will thank you. It’s a different concept than we used to think about when saving energy, but it’s the new reality for California. And along with saving money, you’ll be protecting the energy grid and promoting energy efficiency. So there’s that.

And the duck curve? Well, the graph of this relationship between supply and demand looks kind of like a duck. We know. People who create these kinds of spreadsheets are looking for entertainment wherever they can.

Cute little duckQuack!

Save energy and reduce your utility costs with high performance HVAC. Call the indoor comfort specialists at Air-Tro, your heating and air conditioning experts. (626) 357-3535.


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