Is Solar Energy Enough to Power a House?
Solar energy is an efficient source of power for a variety of applications, including powering your home. Whether solar energy is enough to power your home on its own is often simply a matter of how many solar panels you use.
How many solar panels does your house need?
How much energy do you use per year? Are you seeking to completely eliminate your electricity bill? How much sunlight exposure does your roof receive? These are the questions you’ll need to answer to find out how many solar panels you need to power your house. According to Energy Sage, the average American household uses about 10,400 kWh of power per year. Based on that average, if you use 300-watt solar panels, you’d need about 34 panels depending on your location and roof size to power your entire house all year round.
That being said, every house is different, so you should work with specifics rather than national estimates. A good starting point is to check your electricity bill, which will give you an idea of how much power you’re using. Calculate your daily kWh usage (just divide the annual average by 365 or the monthly average by 30) to determine the amount of daily solar energy you should target. Once you know how much power you need, you can set about shopping for panels.
Panel efficiency matters
Like homes, not all solar panels are made equal — the quality of the panel can make a big difference. For instance, while conventional solar panels generate around 300 watts per panel, SunPower panels, sold at Fafco Solar, generate up to 400 watts per panel. Using these, you can get away with installing fewer panels overall, which can be a lifesaver if you have limited roof space.
Additionally, the peak sunlight hours for your location will also have a major impact on the solar energy you can expect your panels to produce. For instance, you can expect a lot more peak sunlight hours in Cape Coral than in Chicago. You can still power your home with solar energy if you live in Chicago, but you’ll need more panels.
Finally, you should remember that solar panels don’t operate at maximum efficiency at all times. Poor weather conditions can temporarily compromise the efficiency of your system. Because of this, it’s recommended that you add a 25% cushion to your target daily power usage to ensure you never run out of energy.
So is solar energy enough to power a house?
Definitely, but there are a lot of factors at play. For that reason, it’s important that you hire a professional solar installer that knows what solar works best in your specific area.
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