Can Solar Panels Power a Whole House?
The thought of not having to pay potentially hundreds of dollars per month on electricity costs and bills for your home can be relieving, as can reducing your carbon footprint. Installing a solar power system for your home can make both of these wishes happen, but can solar panels power a whole house?
The short answer is…yes! The long answer is that it depends on many factors such as the features of your house, how well insulated it is, HVAC efficiency, the number of solar panels, what climate and area you live in, and more.
Follow along to learn more about solar panels, especially how they work in Bakersfield, Fresno, San Luis Obispo County, and all the areas in the Central Valley and Central Coast of California. We’ll cover:
- Factors affecting solar panel production
- How many solar panels are needed to power your house
- Determining how many solar panels you need to fully power your home
- Cost of solar panels in California
- How PGE handles excess energy
- Finding the best solar installer for you
Factors Affecting Solar Production
Here are the main factors to consider before deciding to power your home entirely with solar-generated electricity.
Whole House Solar Power Cost
The area where your house is located affects the effectiveness of your future solar panels. Specifically, the amount of sunlight you receive and the temperature in the area can determine how much solar power they convert into electricity and the efficiency of that process.
Solar panels in Fresno or Bakersfield in California will have high amounts of sunlight that give your solar panels the opportunity to convert more energy from the sun. However, the high temperatures in the summers make solar panels less efficient.
In a different climate, such as the Central Coast, in cities and towns such as San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Cambria, or Pismo Beach, there may be less sun than the Central Valley but more moderate temperatures.
Depending on your solar setup, if solar panels are fully or partially shaded, the efficiency of your solar panels can significantly drop. Shading leads to less sunlight hitting the solar panels, which leads to less electricity being generated.
Solar panels connected without bypass diodes are especially vulnerable to this—without these bypasses in the circuit, all of the solar panels in the system are only as efficient as the least efficient panel. This could mean that significant shade on just one solar panel could lower the efficiency of the rest of the panels.
If your home’s roof is significantly shaded, especially in the areas slanted facing the south direction, rooftop solar panels may not be for you. You may instead seek a ground-mounted solar panel system.
Solar Panel Cleaning
Solar panels, especially in dusty areas such as Fresno and Bakersfield in the Central Valley of California, can become dirty very quickly.
While cleaning maintenance is still significantly less of a time and money investment than other alternatives of energy generation, keeping up on it will help your solar efficiency and help extend the life of your solar panels. Here’s more on the best ways to clean solar panels.
How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Power Your Whole House?
How many solar panels you have affects how much power goes into your home and how much electricity can be put back into the local area power grid, or stored in a battery. How many solar panels you need depends on how much energy you use.
Consulting with experts is an easy and inexpensive way to identify how many solar panels it takes to power your whole house. Contact your local solar installer in Bakersfield, Fresno, or the Central Coast to get a professional opinion.
Follow these steps to see if solar is a good option for you to save money on electricity costs:
- Check How Much Electric Energy You Use
Check your utility bill for the past year to see how much energy you used (or net energy used if you already have solar panels).
For most Californians in Kern County, San Luis Obispo County, Fresno County, and the surrounding areas, that means logging into your PGE account and looking up your “Energy Usage Details.”
Or, simply add up your bills for the past year to determine how much you spent on electricity costs.
- Identify & Research the Solar Installers Servicing Your Area
You will want to find an excellent solar company in your area. Learn more about what to consider when selecting a company to install your solar power system.
- Consult With & Get a Quote From a Quality Local Solar Installer
After you’ve done your research, get a quote from that company. Click here to get a quote from Bland Company
If you live anywhere from Merced, Madera, or Fresno, to Kern County or Tulare County, to Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, or elsewhere along the Central Coast, your local Bland Company representative will be that expert in your area.
Our experienced and qualified representatives know the Central Valley and Central Coast temperatures and climates, as well as the types of homes built and how solar works with them. They can help you determine how many solar panels you need to power your whole house.
Cost of Solar Panels in California
The cost of solar panels ultimately depends on various factors, including supply of the materials that make a solar panel, brand of the solar panel, location, and the size of the system you want.
Generally, a 4 kW solar panel system in California could cost anywhere from $11,000 to $15,000, not including any tax credits you may receive or other plans that could reduce the cost.
However, if you want to power your whole house exclusively with solar panels, you may be looking at a larger system. In that case, an 8 kw solar panel system in this state could cost more than $20,000.
If you don’t have the resources to purchase the system, you can always finance it or choose other options.
Selling Solar Energy Back to the Grid
What if you generate more energy than you use? If you plan to power your whole house with solar panels, you’ll likely always have surplus energy.
You could store it in a power storage system, but if you are connected to the energy grid, you will likely “sell” that energy back to PGE through its Net Surplus Compensation Program (NSC).
In this program, PGE will calculate your electricity usage over 12 months and deduct the amount generated by your solar panels. If you generate more than you use, you will be reimbursed for sending that surplus back to the grid at fair market value.
Finding the Best Solar Panel Installer for You
A growing number of solar installers are offering services in the Central Valley and Central Coast, so it’s increasingly important to know how to identify which solar installer you should choose.
Among other traits, you will likely want a solar installer who:
- Has experience
- Can accommodate your financial situation
- Knows what permits you need and can obtain them or guide you through the process
- Can inform you how the solar panels will impact your roof and roof warranty
- Understands how many solar panels you need to power your entire home
- Can tell you how shading will impact your solar power system
To expand on these points, you will want to know what questions to ask your solar panel installer. Rest assured that Bland Company in Bakersfield, Fresno, and Atascadero has all of these characteristics. Contact us for a free quote today!