Can a House Run on Solar Power Solely?

One of the biggest myths about solar power is that people assume a whole house cannot run on solar power alone. Based on weather and cloud cover, this might be true of homes in some regions, or your house might not be a particularly good fit for solar. But especially in the Tampa Bay area, most homes can run entirely on solar. At Solar Bear Tampa, we assess each home for solar before we install any panels because we want you to feel confident that your home can run on solar power before you make the switch.

So how exactly can solar power an entire home? Let’s go through it together. In short: It’s all about the batteries.

Solar panels are the first thing everyone thinks of when they picture solar power. Of course, the panels themselves are an important part of solar power—they’re what absorbs the energy from the sun which is then converted into the electricity that powers your home. But even in the best circumstances, solar panels can’t function 24/7—when the sun goes down, there is no solar power for them to absorb, meaning that they must lie dormant at night by necessity. But this doesn’t mean that your home can’t run on solar power at night.

So how can you power a house with solar at night? Well, with a solar battery.

Any fully solar-powered home setup will require a solar battery. At Tampa Bear Solar, we can help you decide if your home setup would benefit from a battery (most do) or not. But if you’re hoping to rely entirely on solar to power your home, you’ll need a good solar battery.

A solar battery stores away any excess solar energy that is absorbed by your solar panels during the day. In high-sunshine states like Florida (and depending on your average home energy use every month), odds are good that even if you are fully powering your home with solar, most sunny days will result in excess energy that the solar battery can absorb and use later, when there is no sunshine, or during night time.

Naturally, a home that has more solar panels and more solar batteries will be better equipped to run entirely on solar power, but there are ways to make it work even if this is not necessarily an option for you and your family.

If you are interested in running your home entirely on solar power, our experts at Solar Bear Tampa would be happy to set up a consultation to assess whether your home is a good match for full solar power. Call us today at 813-922-3735!


Types of Solar Panels Compared

If you are planning on installing solar panels, you have probably noticed that there are a few different types on the market. Their differences are more than just cosmetic—they perform in varying ways. Each kind has different capabilities, energy-efficiency levels, and installation costs.

Our solar installation pros at Solar Bear compare the different types of solar panels so you can make the right choice for your home.

Types of Solar Panels

The four most popular types of solar panels include:

  • Solar shingles
  • Polycrystalline solar panels
  • Monocrystalline solar panels
  • Thin film solar panels

The best solar panel option for your home ultimately depends on your budget, roof space, access to sunlight, your energy needs, and your desired amount of energy efficiency.

Solar Roof Shingles

The newest solar panel option on the market is solar roof shingles. They are the modern answer to a beautiful roof and mimic asphalt shingle roofs in appearance—but with the added benefit of being a solar energy system.

Solar shingles are just as durable as asphalt shingles and protect your roof just as effectively. Each solar shingle can produce anywhere from 13-67 watts of solar energy, but keep in mind, the cost to install solar shingles will be more than the installation of asphalt shingles.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Solar panels are made of either polycrystalline or monocrystalline cells. Typical rooftop solar panels have up to 40 solar cells. Ultimately, the solar panel type that you choose will determine the cost and amount of roof space that your solar installation will require.

Polycrystalline solar panels were the first to be developed. They are rectangular and are created from melted silicon on a mold. Polycrystalline cells are not as efficient or tolerant to heat as monocrystalline cells and do not generate as much electricity from the sun.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panel cells are made from pure silicon. They are round which helps them achieve higher efficiency. Further, you will need fewer of them to generate power.

They are more expensive to purchase and install than their polycrystalline counterparts, but they tend to last longer which is a bonus.

Thin Film Solar Panels

Thin film solar panels are newer and are less frequently used for home installations, though they are growing in popularity.

These panels get their name from how they are produced. Layers of a semiconductor material such as silicon, cadmium telluride, gallium selenide, and copper indium are rolled out as a film. They tend to be less efficient than crystalline solar panel options and require more roof space. But thin-film panels are more flexible and inexpensive compared to crystalline solar cells and can be manufactured into shingles.

Choosing Solar Panels

When you get ready to buy solar panels for a residential install, you will want to consider how the above types of solar panels perform in terms of aesthetics, efficiency, and cost.


First, consider how you want your solar panels to look.

  • Solar shingles take the place of shingles on your roof and mimic the look of asphalt shingles
  • Monocrystalline solar panels are typically arranged in neat rows and columns of sleek black cells.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels have rows of cells and a bluish hue.
  • Thin-film solar panels can be either blue or black. They are slimmer and have a lower profile, but you must install more of them to match the power output of other kinds of solar panels.


Solar panels vary in their energy efficiency.

  • Solar shingles are quite efficient and can reach around 20% efficiency. This means that 20% of the sunlight is being converted into usable energy.
  • Monocrystalline solar panels produce the most power and have high-efficiency ratings of 20%
  • Polycrystalline solar panels are a bit less efficient at around 15-17%
  • Thin-film solar panels are the least efficient type somewhere between 5-11%


Last, the cost is an important factor to consider when installing solar power.

  • Solar shingles can be quite expensive since you are ultimately covering your entire roof with solar shingles. Prices can range from $60,000-$75,000.
  • Monocrystalline solar panels are challenging to manufacture and tend to be in the more expensive range.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels are generally affordable since they can be assembled with small fragments of silicon.
  • Thin-film solar panels vary in cost depending on the material used to make them, but they are cheaper than the other solar options.

Install Solar with Solar Bear

If you are unsure of which solar panels will best fit your needs, call Solar Bear! Our experienced solar technicians can inspect your home and help determine what kind of solar panels are best for your home and energy needs.

Florida is a great place to go solar and Solar Bear is the leading solar panel installation company across the Sunshine State!

Ready to get started? Call Solar Bear today—407-904-7585!


Solar 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Solar

Solar 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Solar

Are you interested in learning more about solar energy for your home? You’re not alone! In fact, millions of Florida residents are making the switch from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. Want to learn more? Check out this quick version of Solar 101.

What is solar power?

Solar power is a renewable energy source generated from the sun in the form of electric or thermal energy. There are many ways to capture solar energy, however, the most common is with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that convert the sun’s rays into usable energy. Because it is environmentally friendly, universally available, and completely pollution-free, solar energy is becoming popular especially in states like Florida where there are 200 days of sunshine per year!

How does solar energy work?

There are four main components of a solar panel – a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing unit, and wiring to transfer electric current from the silicon. Silicon is a nonmetal with conductive properties that allow it to absorb and convert sunlight into usable electricity. When light hits a silicon cell, the light causes electrons to initiate a flow of electric current – a process known as the “photovoltaic effect”. Here’s how it works…

Step 1: Photovoltaic (PV) cells absorb the solar radiation and convert sunlight to direct current (DC) electricity.

Step 2: The inverter converts DC into alternating current (AC) electricity.

Step 3: The electrical panel sends power to your lights and appliances.

Step 4: The utility meter measures the energy you draw and give back to the grid. If you produce more than you use, your power company will buy it back from you at the end of the year.

How much does solar cost?

Thanks to advanced solar technology, the cost of solar panel installations has dropped nearly 80 percent in the last five years! Currently, the average cost for solar panels is $1.77 to $2.20 per watt. A solar panel installation for the average home will run anywhere from $10,626 to $26,460 for a 6 to 20 kW system.

However, don’t let this upfront cost scare you! There are several local, state, and Federal government incentive programs available to help offset the cost of the solar panel installation. In addition, by making the switch from fossil fuel to solar energy, you can save up to $100 per month on your utility bills!

Contact the Solar Energy Experts at Solar Bear Tampa!

At Solar Bear, our solar power experts can help you decide if going solar is right for your home! Contact us today at 813-519-4536 to learn more about solar energy or to schedule an appointment for a FREE estimate on solar panel systems.


How Much Energy Can Home Solar Generate?

When considering the installation of solar panels at your home, power output or wattage is an important factor. Upon receiving quotes for solar panels, you will see line items next to different solar panels that list (for example)245W, 300W, or 345W. These confusing numbers are referring to the solar panel’s wattage, capacity, and power output.

Our solar energy experts explain how much energy is generated for each individual solar panel and an entire home solar panel system.

How much energy does home solar energy produce?

Solar panels are rated by the amount of direct current (DC) power they produce under standard test conditions and are expressed in units of watts (W). This measurement represents the amount of power an individual solar panel can produce under ideal sunlight and temperature conditions.

Key takeaways from solar panel energy output include:

  • On average, an individual solar panel typically produces between 250 to 400 watts of power. Actual output is based on variables such as shade, orientation, and the amount of direct sunlight per day.
  • Based on a 30-panel system, your home solar energy will produce more than enough electricity per year to match all your electricity usage and more!

Calculating Solar Energy Per Single Panel

There are many benefits to living in the Sunshine State, one of which is the five hours (on average) of direct sunlight available per day. Based on this amount of sunlight and a 290-watt premium panel (for example), here’s how you can calculate your individual solar panel output:

5 hours x 290 watts = 1,450 watts-hours or roughly 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh)

Based on this calculation, the output for each solar panel at your home would produce around 500 to 550 kWh of energy per year. With just one solar panel, you would have enough energy to power most small appliances without issue! Just think how much energy can be generated with an entire system. More on that next…

Calculating Entire Solar Panel Systems

Using the example above (five hours of direct sunlight with 290 W solar panels), a 30-panel system will generate 43.5 kWh of electricity per day! Multiply 43.5 times 365 days per year, your solar panels will generate 15,800 kWh of electricity in a full calendar year! Considering that the average electricity used per home in a calendar year is around 10,600 kWh, you will have more than enough energy to power your home.

Get a FREE quote on solar panels from Solar Bear!

Curious to see if a home solar system is a good fit for your energy needs? Contact our experienced team of solar energy experts today at 813-567-8484 for a FREE quote!