On average, a residential customer in the U.S. consumed 10,632-kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in 2021, translating to an average of about 886 kWh monthly. Given such high energy usage, it makes sense to explore alternative power sources to reduce your environmental impact and save money.
Solar panels are a popular choice for many homes, but this begs the question: do they provide enough energy to power a house? Here’s the short answer: YES! As such, if you plan to go solar, you can discover local solar contractors by exploring the EcoGen site. The firm endeavors to spread the good news (not what you have in mind) about solar energy’s potential. Such contractors can walk you through the process of installing solar panels and help you determine the energy they can generate.
Of course, multiple variables determine whether your panels can generate the 29.5 kWh your home might daily – based on the stats above. Let’s address the variables that generally impact solar output to help you determine if going solar might work for your situation.
If you go for a no-frills system, it generally will provide one kilowatt of electricity – not much to write home about. However, if you opt for a larger system, you can expect up to 4 kilowatts of electricity or more.
Before installing a solar system, it’s advisable to compute your electricity use. That way, you can select a solar setup that supports your needs. Even so, other subtle aspects will come into play, including:
- Home’s design: if obstacles, such as trees or other structures, are blocking the sun from hitting your roof, expect your system’s output to decrease.
- Roof orientation: Ideally, your roof should be south-facing to maximize solar production.
- Pitch: For optimum energy production, your roof should have a 30 to 45 degrees pitch.
- The number of panels: If your energy needs are high, you’ll need more panels. For perspective, panel wattage varies from 250 watts to 400 watts. So, if your home needs 8000 watts, you’ll need 20 400-watt panels or 32 250-watt panels to run the meter backward – if you have a net metering agreement. But there’s a catch: your panels should operate at peak capacity to deliver the needed power.
Much as we don’t like to admit, your location greatly matters when using solar energy. As such, homes in sunny, hot regions will naturally generate more energy than cold regions with cloudy skies. Likewise, the number of sunny days your city or area experiences annually factors into the equation.
Thus, an examination of your area’s meteorological data can guide you in selecting a solar setup for your abode. Your installer can also help you make an educated guess and determine your system’s maximum output – based on your location, home design, and other factors. Similarly, your area’s climate affects the appliances you use (more on this below).
Do you plan to incorporate backup storage or energy conservation into your solar system? If not, your system will unlikely generate sufficient electricity to cover your energy needs since real-world usage isn’t the same as a solar panel’s theoretical output. Plus, you’ll have to rely on the grid to meet peak energy demand or when your solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity.
Hence, batteries are a good idea if you want your system to meet or surpass your needs. Batteries provide a backup supply as they save the extra energy generated during the day. But while selecting batteries, factor in their type and capacity (kilowatt-hours). Generally, higher-capacity batteries store more energy, which you can use during lean times.
Electrical Appliances In Use
If you run inefficient appliances, you’ll probably need more power to run them. On the flip side, modern electrical appliances and gadgets are more energy efficient and require less power – allowing you to downsize your solar setup.
As such, consider upgrading or replacing inefficient devices with energy-efficient models to get the most value from your solar system. While at it, consider appliances your use seasonally, such as a portable air conditioner or a swimming pool pump, to ensure your setup can support their needs.
Also, note that the number of appliances in your home will directly impact the size of your solar system. For instance, a home with a washer, dryer, electric stove, freezers, multiple consumer electronics – laptops, TVs, etc. – and other appliances will require more power than one with a few gadgets.
Likewise, living in an area with significant seasonal climatic changes means relying more on an HVAC system, which draws more power than other items. Thus, if your roof can’t accommodate the panels, consider other mounting options or expand the system.
A solar panel system must meet your home’s specific energy needs to be considered sufficient. Thus, consider the above aspects to ensure the panels your go-to installer recommends fit the bill.
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