What would it be like to have a totally solar-powered home?
It’s a question more people are asking themselves as they become increasingly interested in living off-grid.
While there are countless benefits, it takes a lot of planning and some heavy capital investment to ditch your power company for good.
1. Home Size and Power Consumption Make a Big Difference
There are two main ways to afford a fully solar-powered home: 1) You either have a lot of money or 2) You build a home so small that it becomes more feasible to power it by solar alone.
Running a regular-sized home off solar energy requires a significant initial investment.
For example, it would require an enormous battery bank to run the air conditioning and electric stovetop after dark.
That said, you can build or renovate homes that prioritize efficiency.
Start by reviewing your utility bills and estimate how much energy you currently use.
Use the kilowatt-hours as your base.
2. You Might Still Need Backup Energy Sources
In theory, a totally solar-powered home makes no use of backup systems.
Few homeowners have the resources to rely on solar alone, especially in northern climates with short winter days.
Supplementing solar power with these or other sources can reduce the cost and improve the off-grid feasibility:
- Gas or diesel generators
- Propane heaters or cooking devices
- Wind energy
- Geothermal energy for heating and cooling
3. Your Totally Solar-Powered Home Will Need a Big Battery Bank
Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity throughout the day, but what happens when the sun goes down?
After dark, your home needs a large battery bank to ensure it can continue to run all the lights, appliances, and security systems.
This is one of the most significant expenses for a solar-powered home.
The good news is that, as solar technology improves, so does the cost-effectiveness of battery banks.
You can save more in the short term by using AGM batteries.
However, for long-term cost-effectiveness and flexibility, consider lithium batteries.
4. Hours of Daylight Determines Feasibility for a Totally Solar-Powered Home
No matter how energy-efficient a house is, it needs long days of sunlight to run solely on solar power.
When estimating the hours of daylight needed for a fully solar-powered home, consider the following factors:
- Nearby trees or artificial structures that would cast shade on the panels
- The likelihood of snow or debris frequently covering the panels
- The possibility of frequent cloud cover
- The availability of space to place solar panels
5. You Can Reduce Costs by Doing It Yourself
Installing your solar system might seem intimidating, but it can save you thousands of dollars.
This can reduce your total costs or provide extra money to invest in more panels or a larger battery bank.
When installing the system yourself, you develop the knowledge and skills to expand it as your needs change.
Like to Explore Your Solar Options?
At Unbound Solar, we help you discover independence through solar power.
You can rely on us while building your totally solar-powered home, from designing to costing to shipping and installation.
We’d love to learn more about your needs.
Contact us today!