Can an Entire House Really Run on Just Solar?

By Leo Cannyn, PMP, P.E., ENV SP

Principal Project Manager

Beryl Project Engineering

 

Florida residents enjoy sunshine year-round. After all, we are called the Sunshine State. With more than enough sunny days each year, solar power can be a logical investment for many homeowners.

Whether you choose solar because you want to be more environmentally friendly or for economic reasons, getting 100 percent of your power from this renewable energy source can be very liberating.

However, some research will help ensure you understand the costs and accessibility of solar panels, and if your home’s power needs can be met exclusively by solar energy.

Accessibility to Solar Energy

Solar panels are easily accessible and attractive to homeowners because of their many benefits. It is common now to see solar panels lining the roofs of residential homes and businesses. Much of this expansion is due to the falling price of solar energy due to better technology and panel design. The savings can add up. The Solar Energy Industries Association has stated residential solar panel systems have dropped in price more than 60 percent over the past ten years.

The Amount of Energy Needed Can Vary

To meet 100 percent of your home’s energy needs, establish how much energy your home uses. To determine the energy consumption rate, identify your home’s square footage and your average monthly electricity bill. Additionally, the amount of electricity you generate in the summer will be greater than in the winter. Look at average weather patterns to get a realistic picture of what you use throughout a 12-month period. So realistically, how much will your home need? The average  residential property in Florida uses 1,700kWh of electricity per month.

Not All Roofs are Created Equal

To enjoy the full potential of solar panels, they must be installed in an area that receives most of the day’s sunlight. They also need a significant amount of space with limited obstructions. North-facing roofs receive less sunlight throughout the day than south-facing roofs. If trees cover parts of your panels, you may need to cut them back.

How Efficient are Solar Panels?

Solar panels are made of photovoltaic (PV) cells that are rated by the amount of power they can produce in watts. Solar panels available today are approximately 23 percent efficient on average. It is also worth noting that they can only convert a certain amount of incoming sunlight into electricity.

Have a Backup Plan

A battery backup system can store excess electricity from your solar panels so you can still have power at night and on less sunny days. Batteries are a great option to improve the efficiency of your solar panel system and increase the amount of continuous power your home can generate. In addition, adding a battery system will ensure that your home can be completely self-sufficient.

For homeowners, 100 percent coverage using solar energy is a realistic goal. To ensure the maximum value of your investment, let solar experts help you determine whether your home can run on solar, what type of system you need, and how much energy your home needs to be self-sufficient. Consult with experienced engineering professionals who have a thorough understanding of all the considerations necessary to help you successfully transition exclusively to solar energy.