Last updated on October 11th, 2023 at 07:17 pm
There’s so much to be said for solar energy. After you set up your solar power system, you get free energy from the sun without pollution. Over the long run, you often can enjoy lower energy expenses and a lower carbon footprint for the same amount of energy usage.
You may have heard the term “solar house” before and wondered what it meant. In this article, we will explain what a solar house is and whether it’s a good option for your household.
What is a Solar House?
A solar house, or solar home, is a household that gets most or all of its electricity from the sun. It can use rooftop solar panels, ground-mounted solar installations, or a combination of both to generate electricity from the sun.
Can a House Run Entirely on Solar Power?
Some houses can run entirely on solar power. However, it depends on how many solar panels the household has, where those panels are placed, and how much energy the household uses. Some solar panels are also more efficient than others.
At Switch Electric, we can help you determine whether it’s possible to transition your home to entirely solar energy. Even if you have limited space for panels, you may be able to supplement your utility energy with solar panels to reduce your grid dependence, environmental impact, and long-term energy costs.
How Many Panels Are Needed to Run a Solar House?
You can install a solar photovoltaic battery system to store the energy from your panels. Many of these batteries can also store energy from the electrical grid, which gives you extra flexibility during power outages in low-sun months if you do not go 100% solar.
Here are the solar battery systems we recommend:
Enphase Ensemble System
The Enphase Ensemble system uses microinverter technology for safer and more reliable operations. You can transition from utility power to battery power without any delay. The system also comes with an Intelligent Storm guard to track weather systems and prioritize power backup, automatic updates, and an app.
SunPower® SunVault™ Storage System
The SunPower® SunVault™ Storage System is designed to maximize your efficiency and savings if you use a combination of solar energy and energy from the grid. It will kick in automatically during a utility power outage. It will also shift when you draw power from the grid based on the best time-of-use rates to ensure you make the most of your solar energy.
Is it Cheaper to Have a Solar Powered House?
Solar panels are expensive to install, but usually pay for themselves over time. At Switch Electric, we’ve found that most of our system designs have a payback period of 10-12 years and will keep producing energy for 25 more. Solar panels can also raise the value of your home.
In Washington State, we have a great solar incentive structure for homeowners looking to install panels. In our state, equipment for solar energy systems are exempt from state and local taxes and use taxes. At the federal level, you can get a 30% tax credit for solar installations, including energy storage devices with a capacity rating of 3 kWh or greater. This credit will not begin to phase out until 2033.
Many utilities offer rebates or other incentives for upgrades that help customers reduce their electricity use. You can check with your utility to see what they offer.
Looking to find out what it would cost for your household to go solar? You can try out our Solar System Designer to get an estimate. Or, schedule an online appointment with us to get an estimate of how many panels you would need and how much they would cost.