Can I run my house on solar power only?
Can solar energy entirely power a house? The answer is yes! Solar has powered entire communities in several places around the world, so it is very capable of powering one singular home. Solar is the world’s most adaptable power source, capable of powering everything from pocket calculators to entire cities.
When you consider that enough sunlight strikes the Earth every hour to power the world’s population for a full year, it becomes clear that a single house can easily be powered by solar. The more important question, however, is “how can I run my house on solar power only?”. Let’s take a look below.
The first and most important requirement for powering your entire house with solar energy is having the proper system size. To offset your electricity usage, you need the proper amount of solar panels. Learn how to find the right solar system size for your home. Remember that knowing the size of the solar system is just one part of the equation.
The largest limitation of solar power is that it is only available during the day (when the sun is shining). The average home’s power consumption peaks in the evenings. Because these times don’t line up, no matter how many solar panels you use, they will be useless after sunset unless you choose one of the two options below:
1. Net Metering
Net-metering allows you to send excess energy from your solar panels into the grid during the day and use energy from the grid at night. Ultimately, you will only be charged if you take more energy from the grid than you give. If your system is properly designed, net metering can usually result in zero or near-zero electricity bills.
2. Battery Backup
The most common way to store energy is by using batteries. Batteries are chemical devices that undergo a chemical reaction when charged and a reverse chemical reaction when needed, which generates nearly the same amount of energy as the first reaction.
Both net-metering and batteries have advantages and disadvantages. Net-metering reduces the cost of batteries, which can be extensive. Batteries, on the other hand, provide energy security when the grid is unreliable or unavailable in your area.
As a result, batteries are popular in remote, off-grid cabins and even in areas where blackouts are common. However, technology is constantly evolving, and you don’t have to choose between net metering and batteries. With the advancement of better hardware and software, you can have system configurations that take advantage of both.
4 Types of Solar System Configurations
There are 4 main types of system configurations. Each has its own set og pros and cons and efficiency ratings.
- Solar Only (net-metering only)
- Sunlight Backup
- Home Essentials Backup
- Full Energy Independence