If you are interested in making the transition to solar, there are many questions you may have and many available options. How do I know if my home is a good candidate for solar panels? How much money am I spending on average on energy in my home? How much money can I save on energy usage? Let’s talk about available choices to the homeowner when considering solar power.
We need to go over some basic units to understand the numbers.
- The electrical energy generated by a solar panel or a solar system is expressed in kilowatts. kW – Kilowatt. It is a measure of electrical power equal to 1000 watts.
- A measure of electrical energy equal to the consumption of 1000 watts for 1 hour is a kWh. The kWh is used as a billing unit for the energy consumed by individuals.
How much energy does a household use? There are many variables to consider when seeking an answer to this question. On average, the electricity consumption for a home for a year was 10,715 kilowatt-hours (kWh), an average of about 893 kWh per month. It equates to an electric bill of approximately $100-125/month. The cost of energy varies by state, so keep this in mind.
Heating and cooling account for the most significant annual uses of electricity in your home. Because these uses are mainly weather-related, the total yearly residential electricity consumption varies from year to year. Other items that consume significant energy include appliances, lighting, and water heater.
Installing solar panels can contribute to your household’s energy each month. There are many variables to consider. They include how much electricity you use and how much roof space you have available. Other considerations include panel technology, climate, efficiency, location, angle, and the seasons.
One single solar panel typically should be able to cover about 1/20th of your household energy needs. Sometimes called rated capacity or rated output, solar panels are rated for 1,000 watts (or 1 kW) of sunlight for every square meter of the panel.
Most solar arrays include 10-20 panels to cover most of your home’s needs. Solar panel systems are measured in kW. A standard solar panel array is usually around 5kW and takes around 400 square feet of space. An array of this size can produce an average of 400-850 kWh of energy per month. For an average household, it is possible to cover close to 100% of your needs every month.
If you have started researching solar energy, you may have heard the term “solar or energy storage.” Energy or solar storage is the capture of power produced at one time for use at a later time. Specifically, we are talking about energy from solar panels in your home. Storing energy can reduce imbalances between energy demand and energy production. A device that stores energy is generally called an accumulator or battery.
So you may be asking yourself, do I need solar storage? When deciding if a solar storage battery is correct for you, there are several factors to consider.
- Power outages: The primary reason most homeowners install energy storage is for emergency backup power in the event of an outage. The electricity grid is very resilient, but in some parts of the country, outages happen frequently. Having solar storage can be vital during these times.
- Rates of Electricity: In some parts of the country, solar customers and residential electricity users pay Time of Use (TOU) rates. TOU electricity rates are a type of time-varying rate. The price you pay for electricity changes by season, month, day of the week, or even by the hour of the day. Most TOU rates increase the price of electricity during the early evening when your solar panels are no longer producing electricity at their peak levels. Energy storage can help reduce your demand charges by allowing you to pull from your battery instead of the grid at times of peak demand.
- Cost: Solar batteries range from $5,000 to 7,000, depending on the storage and the output. The prices reflect the battery itself and do not include the cost of installation or any extra equipment. When deciding to buy a solar battery, you should think about the needs of your home.
Deciding if solar is a good fit for your home can be challenging. There are many factors to keep in mind when making a decision. There can also be many monetary incentives, including tax breaks. The cost of power in your area and the total project cost are also items to consider. Do your research, stay informed, and soon you can have a solar-powered home.