Solar power. It’s the future of energy many have said. Maybe you’ve seen some solar panels on the roofs in your neighborhood. Or maybe you’ve seen people on television building off-grid homes powered totally by solar panels, and you found yourself wondering if you could run your entire household on only solar power. So is it possible? The short answer is yes. It is possible to go net zero and be totally reliant on solar energy. With the price of solar continuing to drop, it’s becoming more and more accessible than ever before.
If your home is off the grid, it will be a lot easier to run your home exclusively on solar power. You simply purchase your solar panels, control panel, battery and controller and then install them. Most rural off-gridders create energy use plans to help them manage their usage optimally. With most off-grid homes being custom built, energy efficient insulation, windows and other materials are part of the design plan. This means that the solar energy collected will be used in the most efficient manner.
For those who live in urban or suburban areas who are interested in exploring the option of going full solar, you may run into more issues than you think. In order to make the most out of exclusive solar energy, you’ll need to outfit your home with the most energy efficient materials, like specialized windows, energy efficient electric appliances and air seals. If you choose not to switch from gas to electric for your stove, water heater, dryer and HVAC, you won’t be considered net zero, but you can still make a major difference in your home’s energy consumption. You also need to consider the size of your roof and outdoor space. Not all homes in more urban areas have enough space to accommodate the number of solar panels needed to support an entire home.
Becoming More Efficient
Even if you are unable to depend solely on solar power to run your home, you can still do so partially. Replacing old and drafty windows, appliances, siding and more can help you to reduce your energy costs and make your partial reliance on solar energy more impactful. There are plenty of private companies that will install solar panels that allow you to use both solar energy and the power from your local energy supplier. Many of these companies don’t allow you to store the solar energy your panels absorb, so be sure to ask all the questions before choosing a solar power company that works alongside your current energy supplier.
There is nothing wrong with being environmentally conscious while saving yourself some money. But you have to be realistic about your goals, options and limitations. Getting to 100% solar dependent is possible, but you’ll need to decide if you’re willing to make the sometimes costly improvements to get there. One of the best things you can do is to get an energy audit so you know exactly where you stand and what are the most impactful improvements you can make.