For many homeowners that are considering a shift to solar power, the logistics of whether they can support their needs with solar panels weighs heavily over their minds. Many want to be assured that once they transition, they’ll have something that can reliably provide their electrical needs independent of the main grid.
Luckily, the quick answer is yes, solar panels can fully power your entire property.
Of course, this is not a 100% definite answer. There are many gray areas that you’ll want to understand before fully committing to this power source. Atlasta Solar Center is a trusted solar panel contractor, and part of our commitment to customer satisfaction is answering your questions about all things solar power. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into solar panels and how you can make sure they’ll power your entire home.
As we’ve mentioned, yes, you can power your home with solar panels. Today’s modern solar panels are far more efficient than those from even just a decade ago. Power storing capabilities are also rapidly advancing, so even when winter comes and daylight hours are shorter, it will still be able to power your daily activities.
However, we understand if you’re still debating whether the change is right for you. We’re here to answer your questions and help you decide. Here are some other things that a homeowner might want to keep in mind before they fully commit to going solar:
The first concern of most property owners is finding how much energy they actually consume. That way, they can know for certain if their solar power system can handle the demand. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average residential American household consumes about 11,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. However, the amount can vary widely from region to region and state to state.
Those who live in the Northeast tend to have a lower annual kWh average while those in the South tend to be the highest. Here in Colorado, we average at 8,400 kWh according to EIA, which is significantly lower than the national average.
When you speak with your local solar company representative, just make sure you cover the power production of the system, then compare it to your yearly usage.
Can solar power systems handle the energy needs detailed above? Let’s examine the power output of a single solar panel. In optimal conditions — that is, direct and unfiltered sunlight — the power output is between 200 to 250 watts per hour. The range can go higher in more efficient models.
At 250 watts per hour, a single panel can generate up to 1.25 kW in five hours of optimal daylight conditions. You’ll only need around 20 to 25 solar panels to produce an annual power output of 11,000 kWh — not as many as you may have thought! For reference, most roofs can easily accommodate those numbers of panels, making solar a practical choice for most homes.
How Much Does Installation Cost?
So, now you’re certain that even just 25 solar panels can handle your home’s electricity needs. But, the installation costs are another major factor that may put you off from actually setting them up.
Costs can vary depending on the kind of system installed, the number of panels, your location, and the labor costs of contractors. In the US, the average price of installation ranges from $3,500 to $16,000, according to Investopedia. However, your long-term energy savings and the value that the system adds to your home make the initial expense well worth it. In fact, for many people, the energy savings that solar power can provide is actually one of the biggest selling points. Yes, you pay an upfront fee. However, over time, your energy savings (and money you may even earn from selling power back to the electricity company) often offset or even completely cover that cost.
There are three types of solar power systems today: grid-tie, grid-tie with energy storage, and off-grid. For the first two, you’re still reliant on the main grid to some degree. The system only serves as backup or as a means to save on energy bills. Off-grid solar systems, on the other hand, are ones that power an entire house without being connected to the grid. So yes, it’s very possible to use solar panels as your only source of power.
Yes, your location matters. The amount of daylight hours you get is essential in determining the right number of solar panels for your property. Climate is also important since areas that are always foggy, cloudy, and rainy will make solar panels inefficient. Finally, there’s the energy demand for certain seasons and locations. Those who need more heating during the shorter days of winter need more solar panels to address their energy requirements.
Here’s some exciting news that might convince you to make the shift to solar energy!
- Solar panels are getting more efficient: They can now convert more solar power to electricity by up to 20%. That’s an increase from 250W to 370W per panel!
- Solar windows are becoming a thing: Many of us are familiar with solar panels on roofs, but solar windows might be more mainstream in the future. These power-generating coatings are highly efficient while still remaining transparent.
- Infrared solar panels are revolutionizing everything: The most exciting development in recent years is solar panels that can harvest infrared light. With these, the heat from the sun and the earth can be converted into electricity. That means your panels will work even at night!
Ready to transition to a greener energy source for your home? Not only will you be saving on your energy bills, but you’ll have an unlimited source of power that’s as certain as day and night. Plus, if you ever sell your home, this solar power system will seriously increase its value. At Atlasta Solar Center, we install premier solar panel systems and offer many other innovative solutions for homes and business establishments on the West Slope. Contact us today to learn more.