Can a house run on solar power alone?
Solar energy is one of the most promising sources of renewable energy, and more and more people are opting to install solar panels on their roofs.
But can a house run on solar power alone? Four Earths is here to answer this question as simply as possible while also listing all the additional components needed to build an effective solar power system for homes.
How much power does a solar panel produce?
To answer the question “can a house run on solar power alone?”, we need to first look at how much power a solar panel produces.
When you purchase solar panels from a company, there are multiple options for you to choose form. For example, you could choose a monocrystalline solar panel, a polycrystalline solar panel or a thin-film solar panel. If you wish to learn more about material solar panels are made of, you can read about it here.
For the purpose of this blog, we will discuss the options you are presented with for the power output of the solar panel you are going to purchase.
Solar panels in the market can produce anywhere between 1Wh and several thousand watt-hours in a single day. However, domestic solar panels typically range between 1 kilowatt-hour and 4 kilowatt-hours of electricity produced per day. Domestic solar panels are labeled between “245W” and “345W”, meaning that they produce the labeled amount of power per hour.
Now you might be wondering, if a solar panel can produce 345W of power per hour, shouldn’t 345W x 24 give 8280 watt-hours or 8.3 kWh? Well, the answer is, that solar panels can only produce power during sunlit hours.
Different states across the U.S. get different amounts of sunlight and peak sunlight hours. This means that a single 345W solar panel would produce varying amounts of power per state.
A solar panel that has an output capacity of 245W per hour would produce 1.78 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day in Arizona, but only 0.6 kilowatt-hours in Alaska. This means that you would need a varying number of solar panels to answer positively to can a house run on solar power alone.
The power output greatly depends on the size of the solar panel, so you need to make sure that your roof is spacious enough to accommodate a few solar panels.
Can a house run on solar power alone?
A typical household in the US consumes about 30 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day. If the home is in Alaska, it would need 50 solar panels with an output of 245W each, or 36 solar panels with an output of 345W each. The number of solar panels would be a lot lower in states that have more hours of sunlight per day.
Question 1: Can a house run on solar power alone?
So, the answer to the question “can a house run on solar power alone?” is yes, it can theoretically. How many solar panels do you need to run a house? It depends on the output of each solar panel and the amount of sunlight your area receives.
Now this gives way to a brand new question:
Question 2: Can a house run on solar power alone cost-effectively?
It highly depends on where you are, and the amount of sunlit hours your area is exposed to. It is not affordable to purchase 50 solar panels, and it is impractical to place such a large number on a roof.
Together with the repair and maintenance costs, solar panels are associated with, it would be a much better option to choose wind power or geothermal power if your area doesn’t get ample sunlight.
Solar panels aren’t the only thing you need to make your house run on solar power – you also need a way to store the electricity generated by the panels. Solar panels do not produce any power during the night, so they need a store the power generated through the day to keep the home running through the night.
This is why you need a battery installed in your house. There are many batteries available in the market, each with a different capacity. We will write a blog on the topic in the near future, stay tuned.
Your solar power system also needs an inverter in order to function. An inverter converts the direct current (DC) generated by the solar panels into alternating current (AC). This AC is then used to power appliances in your home or office.
When all these components are installed correctly, can a house run on solar power alone? Absolutely.
Benefits of installing solar panels in your home
There are many benefits to installing solar panels in your home including the fact that they can help reduce your electricity bills. Solar panels convert sunlight’s light energy into electric energy producing electricity, so they’re a great option if you wish to go green.
Solar panels also have other benefits, such as reducing pollution, helping to conserve resources and generating power at a low cost. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of solar panels, be sure to read through our blog section.
So, the answer to the main question of this blog “can a house run on solar power alone” is… Yes! Absolutely. But the answer doesn’t end there.
It isn’t always a viable option, however, since some states within the U.S. do not get sufficient sunlight. You would need many more solar panels to power a home in Alaska than in Arizona. This means that considering the repair and maintenance costs associated with several dozens of solar panels, it would be a better option to choose wind or geothermal power.
You’d also need much more than just solar panels to power your home. You’ll need a battery to store the electricity generated to keep your home running during darker hours, and an inverter to convert DC to AC.
Four Earths recommend that you seek consultation before installing solar panels on your roof. Since solar panels can be costly to install, it would be in your best interest to know whether your investment is a good one.