If you live in Montana, Colorado, or similar areas, solar energy can help you reduce your electricity costs. Thanks to their ample sunshine, Colorado and Montana are great places for solar installations. There is plenty of sunshine in the summer, so your summertime energy bill will be quite low. Because snow can cover up snow panels in the winter, your system may produce less power during adverse weather. Despite some seasonal changes, it is possible to exclusively power your home with solar energy.
Can a House Run on Solar Energy Alone?
You can absolutely run your entire house on solar energy alone. In the past, it was difficult to power a home at night. Other than the lack of sunshine, nighttime energy consumption was challenging because batteries were not good enough to store large amounts of power. New inventions have been developed in recent years that have made it possible to cheaply store all of the power you need for nighttime consumption.
The real question is not whether you can use solar power at night. Instead, you have to consider how much money solar panels and power storage will end up costing you. Depending on where you live, municipal, state, and federal incentives can reduce some of the cost of setting up solar energy.
Determine How Much It Will Cost You
Before you set up your new solar installation, you should figure out how much your system will cost. You need to look at your power bill to see how much electricity you use on a monthly basis. Then, your solar contractor can use this figure to determine how many solar panels are needed to power your home.
If you have multiple bills available from the last year, you should look at the figure from your highest month. Consumption can vary based on the season, so you need to figure out your maximum and minimum consumption. Plus, you can always draw power from your municipality’s grid if you need to.
Consider Your Unique Location
Once you reach out to Impact Energy, a professional technician can evaluate your property. While Colorado and Montana have a great potential for solar energy, this potential varies based on your home’s unique surroundings. Trees, tall houses, and other structures can stop sunlight from reaching your roof.
You generally want your roof to get a lot of sunshine, but this goal is not always possible. If your roof is shady for more than a third of each day’s sunny hours, it can significantly decrease the power your system can make. You can still use solar energy, but you will need more panels to create the same amount of power. If you can chop down trees or trim a few branches, you can boost your system’s productivity.
Look at Where You Live in the Country
Someone who lives in rainy Seattle will produce less power than a homeowner in sunny Arizona. The climate you are in will determine your maximum energy capacity. If you live in a cloudy area, you might not be able to produce a lot of power during the wintertime. You can always ask your solar contractor whether you will need to use the public power grid or not.
Can Solar Panels Power a House 24/7?
Before there was a cost-effective way to store electricity, it was not possible to use solar energy to power a home 24/7. Today, that is no longer the case. Through net metering and high-capacity batteries, many homeowners can eliminate their electricity bills each month.
As the name suggests, high-capacity batteries are able to store a lot of electricity. During the day, your system will produce excess power that can be transmitted to these batteries. Then, the same power can be sent into your home after the sun has set.
The other option is to power your house with net metering. Depending on your local municipality, you may be able to sell your excess solar power to your electrical company. Then, you can use these energy credits to buy back power at night.
How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Power an Entire House?
An average home will need 20 to 24 panels to produce 100 percent of its power needs. While this is a good rule of thumb, the actual amount can vary based on where you live, the type of solar panels, and how much shade there is. You may also need extra panels if you use more energy than an average home.
To calculate the number of panels you need, you should multiply your hourly energy needs by the number of peak sunlight hours in your area. Then, you should divide this figure by the panel’s wattage. Because each brand and size has a different wattage, you need to know the kind of panel you want to use in order to create an accurate calculation.
If you are not sure how many watts you currently use, you can check out your power bill. You can also subtract your final meter reading from the initial reading if your bill does not include the total amount of power you used. Then, you can divide your monthly consumption by the number of days in the month to get your daily usage. Afterward, you should divide this figure by 24 to get your hourly average. Multiply this final figure by 1,000 to get the number of watts you need. You can divide this figure by the number of peak sunlight hours in your region to figure out the amount of energy your panels should make every hour.
It is important to remember that solar panels will not function at their maximum efficiency all of the time. The weather and time of year can impact how efficient your system is. Because of this, you should generally cushion your average by 25 percent to accommodate day-to-day variations.
Your system’s efficiency can be impacted by a variety of different factors. For example, solar cells will absorb more sunlight if there are no grid lines on the front of the cells. Installing microinverters can improve your power conversion. Plus, the size of your panels can impact how much power you can create. Through the help of your solar contractor, you can figure out how all of these factors impact the maximum amount of power your system can produce.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Solar Power?
Whether you want to escape the grid or save money on electricity, there are many benefits to getting solar power. There can also be a few drawbacks. An expert can tell you whether getting solar panels is the right choice for your home or not.
The Pros of Using Solar Energy
The most obvious benefit to getting solar panels is the cost. Once you have installed your new system, you can save a great deal of money on your electricity bill. Over time, your electricity savings can defray the cost of installing the panels. Through solar energy, you can enjoy some of the following benefits.
- Solar panels do not produce pollution and can help the environment.
- You can increase the property value of your home.
- Through federal credits, you can reduce your tax bill at the end of the year.
- These panels can extend the lifespan of your roof.
- You can power your home during blackouts.
- Solar panels have a very low maintenance cost.
The Cons of Using Solar Energy
The main drawback to solar energy is the upfront cost. In addition to the cost of the panels, you have to pay for the installation, inverters, and batteries. Fortunately, many of these expenses can be defrayed by federal and state incentives.
- Power production can vary based on the weather.
- Shady properties might not produce enough power to be worth the initial investment.
- You have to invest money upfront before you can save money on your electrical bill.
- Solar panels take up space on your roof.
Do Solar Panels Work Well in Winter?
Thankfully, solar panels can function throughout the year. During wintertime, there are two factors that can impact your system’s efficiency. Because the days are shorter, there are fewer hours of sunshine available to create solar energy. In addition, excessive snow can build up and prevent sunshine from reaching the solar panels.
If your solar panels are free from snow, they should make the same amount of energy per hour. Thanks to the albedo effect, they can even produce more energy per hour. Because snow reflects sunlight, solar panels can generate electricity based on light from the sun and reflected light from the ground as well.
Learn About Your Home’s Potential for Solar Power
Solar energy is a great way to reduce your power bill and improve your home’s value. Depending on where you live, solar energy could potentially power your entire house. With the help of a specialist from Impact Energy, you can learn about your roof’s energy potential. To discover the benefits of solar power, reach out to one of our team members today.