Can I Completely Power My Home with Solar?
In Florida, we bask in the rays of the sun for most of the year, but beyond beautiful sunsets and seemingly perpetual heat and humidity, the sun can be harnessed to create power to offset the energy costs of running your home.
The amount of electricity that it takes to run a home depends on many factors including the number of electrical appliances, their running time, temperature, etc. So, the question remains, can solar power be used to power a whole house? Scroll down to find out!
How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Power a Home?
The average household in the United States uses around 10,400 kWh of electricity per year. If you were to install an average 250-watt solar panel, you would need around 28-34 solar panels to generate enough energy to power your entire home throughout the year.
We recommend taking these three steps to determine whether solar energy is a good fit for you:
- Determine your electricity consumption in kWh. You can find this number on your electricity bill.
- Divide your electricity consumption by the solar power production estimate. This estimate will vary depending on your house’s location, tree coverage, sunshine, etc. You can estimate a reasonable range by using 1.31(Arizona) or 1.61(Maine) which have the highest and lowest production ratios in the United States.
- Divide that number by 250 which is the wattage of an average solar panel, to determine how many solar panels you may need to generate 100% of your electricity needs.
Let’s try some basic math:
11,000 kWh of annual energy usage/ 1.31 = 8,396.9
8,396.9 /250 = 33.58 or 34 solar panels
While this is just an estimate, it can provide you with a rough idea of the feasibility of powering your entire home with solar power.
Energy Backup System
Typically, you can get 60% of the energy that your house needs directly from a solar panel system which means, to power your entire home, you need additional batteries for energy backup. So yes, it is possible to run a complete home with solar energy when you install an energy backup system in your home.
Having a backup battery is a great option when you want to completely power your home off solar power because it reserves extra energy for nighttime and cloudy days.
To make the most efficient use of your solar power, run your home’s appliances separately to maximize energy usage. Try turning off the AC or heater when you are washing clothes or cooking in the kitchen.
How Much Does It Cost?
Installing solar power generally only needs a primary investment. You will be profitable for many years after paying off your initial investment and will be able to enjoy off-the-grid energy to power your entire home.
Though the cost of solar panel installation is dropping, an average installation can cost around $10,000 or more—even after federal tax credits.
Many homeowners with solar power systems do not use them as an exclusive source of power, but rather connect to the utility grid in a process called net metering.
Net metering usually follows this pattern:
A household utility meter monitors how much electricity is consumed by a household and how much electricity that the solar panels generate.
On a monthly or yearly basis, that household is only responsible for paying for its net consumption or its electricity consumption beyond what its solar panels generate.
This allows the homeowner an opportunity to be compensated for their energy by the utility company.
When planning on powering an entire home with solar power, keep these things in mind.
- You may want to get any attic spaces air sealed with spray foam insulation to prevent leaks.
- The use of a smart thermostat can save energy.
- Retrofitting your lights to LEDs can help with energy efficiency and consumption.
- Upgrading to energy-efficient windows can be beneficial.
- Before installing solar, get an energy audit done and fix any issues that may have been found like leaky ductwork, outdated windows, lights, etc.
While completely powering your home will take a lot of diligence on your part, it can be done!
Go Solar with Solar Bear
Choosing the right renewable energy source can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! Solar Bear technicians are experts in renewable energy and are ready to install solar panels in your Florida home. Plus, we can install solar thermal and geothermal heat pumps to maximize your green energy at home.
Ready to harness the power of Florida’s sun and take back your energy independence? Install a solar panel system with locally owned and operated Solar Bear!