With knowing comes choice.
Most people know that solar panels provide power, but there is a certain lack of clarity for some, as to how much power solar panels can produce.
In all fairness, this lack of clarity can be largely attributed to the phenomenal rate at which solar panel technology is changing. Using my own personal example of living off-grid, if I were to purchase a home power system today – utilizing the same budget I did in 2015 – I would most likely have a system with twice the capacity; both in power generation and in power storage.
To put it bluntly, technology is out-pacing awareness.
So clear up any confusion on what is possible and practical; solar panels can easily be scaled to provide all the power you need for your house. However, it is important to note that solar panels only work when the sun is shinning, mandating the need for supplemental power for your home to operate at night.
Solar Panels And Supplemental Power
Currently, there are two main ways for a homeowner living on solar to get through the night. The most common is by taking it from the power grid, the other is by storing power onsite in a whole house battery.
Which one you use will be determined largely by how your home power system is set up.
For those of you who are Grid-Tied, meaning you are physically attached to the power grid and still get the ‘monthly correspondence’ from your electric company, your first option is to simply buy the electricity you need.
But for those of you who are Off-Grid, meaning you have no physical connection to the power grid, you will have to store extra energy in a whole house battery in order for your house to operate when the sun is not shining.
## Special Note ##
As mentioned earlier, technology is progressing at an incredible rate. And nothing displays this change more dramatically than what has been accomplished in the science of energy storage (batteries).
Because of what is now available on the market, there are those who are installing whole house batteries in Grid-Tied systems.
If implemented properly, this allows them to disconnect from the power grid – say in the event of a blackout – and essentially operate as an Off-Grid home.
This is not yet very common, but is completely feasible if proper preparations are taken.
While it is completely possible to scale the number of solar panels you need to power your house, it behooves a potential solar shopper to know just how much electricity they are buying for.
For those of you who are considering a Grid-Tied system, there is a considerable amount of flexibility available to you. This is because the electric utility is there to provide you with as much additional power as you might need, when you need it.
However, it should be understood that unless special preparations have been made, you will still be in the dark should there ever be a disruption to the power grid. For more on this, please read, “Do Solar Panels Work During A Blackout?”
For those of you who would prefer to be completely independent of the electric company and go Off-Grid, being thorough with your homework is absolutely essential. This is because there is no utility there to provide any supplemental power.
To be blunt, you have assumed complete responsibility for your energy needs and are, in fact, on your own.
If you do not do your homework correctly, you can easily find yourself in a house that is inadequately powered.
While this thought is sobering, it should not be daunting. To learn more about how you can calculate your whole house load, please read, “How To Build A Solar Powered House.”