- Solar panels are photovoltaic cells that collect sunlight and convert it to direct current (D.C.).
- A modern solar energy system that includes power storage can operate a full house entirely on solar power. Still, there are several factors to consider first: previous power consumption, available space for installation, amount of sunlight the home receives, etc.
- The average American household consumes 10,400 kWh of power each year; 28-34 solar panels are required to generate enough energy to power the house using 250-watt panels.
- Solar panels generate less power on cloudy or rainy days; a battery energy storage system will allow you to use reserve energy to power your home (or you may draw from the grid).
Homeowners are constantly looking for ways to save money while maintaining a more energy-efficient lifestyle. And with the rise in the popularity of solar panels, more and more people are wondering if they can power their whole house with these panels. The answer is it depends. Let’s break it down.
How do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels are composed of smaller parts known as photovoltaic cells. Sunlight is absorbed by these cells and converted into Direct Current (D.C.) power. D.C. electricity flows in one direction and is the electricity most often used in batteries. To be used in your home, this D.C. electricity must be converted into Alternating Current (A.C.) electricity. A.C. electricity alternates directions and is the type of electricity used in most homes. An inverter does the process of converting D.C. electricity into A.C. electricity. Once the A.C. electricity is ready, it flows into your home’s electrical panel and can be used to power your lights, appliances, and more.
Can I Power My Whole House Using a Solar System?
You can operate a full house entirely on solar power with a modern solar energy system that includes power storage. Today’s high-efficiency solar panels and batteries make it more affordable than ever to power a whole home solely with solar energy. However, there are factors to consider:
Factor 01: How Much Energy You Use
Your solar installer must first calculate how much energy your home uses to satisfy 100% of your house’s energy demands. The most popular method is to examine your previous power consumption, which is contained in your monthly bills.
It will, however, go beyond simply reading the most recent bill. A solar installation must consider several elements while creating a system that satisfies all your energy requirements. Your power use will most likely fluctuate from month to month and season to season.
Milder weather in the spring and fall may result in lower power expenses than hot summers with the air conditioner blasting. Longer days and more time spent indoors may cause an increase in power use during the winter. To completely determine how large a system you require, your solar contractor must average how much power you regularly use.
Factor 02: Your Available Space
You’ll need enough space to build a solar system capable of meeting your entire home’s power needs. One 330W solar panel occupies around 19.5 square feet. A typical home’s solar system will range from 5 to 20 kW. That means you’ll need between 312 and 1,189 square feet of bright, unobstructed space to install a system that fulfills your power needs. Roofs are not created equal. North-facing roofs receive less sunshine throughout the day, so you may need to install additional panels to compensate for the reduction in production. Trees that offer continuous shadow to your roof may need to be pruned or removed. Other production barriers include adjoining buildings, chimneys, and even exhaust fans.
Factor 03: Amount of Sunlight Your Home Receives
The average U.S. home receives around four hours of usable sunlight per day. But the sunlight your home receives will vary depending on where you live. For instance, homes in the Southwest receive more sunlight than homes in the Northeast. And even within states, there can be large variations. For example, homes in Melbourne, Florida, receive about twice as much sunlight as homes in Tallahassee, Florida.
How Many Solar Panels Do I need to power the entire home?
The average American household consumes 10,400 kWh of power each year. Installing the average 250-watt solar panel will require 28-34 panels to provide enough energy to power your full home.
In contrast to the normal utility grid, which is automatically connected to your home during construction, solar panel installation is a highly personalized technique that influences its cost. To assess whether solar cells are a suitable fit for you, we recommend performing the following three steps:
- Calculate your power use in kWh. This information may be found on your power bill or estimated here.
- Divide that figure by the estimated solar production. The precise estimate will depend on your property and the area around it (e.g., tree coverage and regional sunshine). You may get a fair range by utilizing the greatest and lowest production ratios in the U.S., 1.31 (Arizona) and 1.61 (Maine), as recommendations.
- Divide that figure by 250, the typical solar cell wattage, to get an estimate and idea of how many panels you could need to generate 100% of your home’s power.
Will solar panels still power my home when the sun isn’t out?
Solar panels generate power at a reduced pace on cloudy and rainy days. On a nice sunny day, you should be able to generate enough energy to power your home for the whole day. On other days, you will not receive enough sunshine (or even partial sunlight) to power your entire home. This is where having a storage system or being linked to the grid might help.
When your solar cells are not producing electricity, a battery energy storage system will allow you to use reserve energy to power your home. This is the same backup source that will power your home at night if you choose “off-grid.”
If you do not have solar storage, your home will draw electricity from the grid while your solar panels are not actively producing it (like at night).
While these figures might provide you with a rough sense of what your home needs to run totally on solar power, you should contact a professional solar installation specialist. You’ll want precise data with many variables to consider (such as roof quality and angle, surrounding shade, daily solar exposure, property size, and so on).
Fortunately, Can-Am Roofing of Central Florida can help! We will help you through the process, from calculating savings to predicting production to a professional installation in Melbourne, FL.
Now is the time to go solar, thanks to the tremendous energy tax credits and monetary incentives!