How Much Solar Power Do You Need?

If you decide to convert your home to solar energy, at some point you will need to make an important decision about the size of your new solar energy system. This will be determined, in part, by how much power you consume and anticipate you will need in the future.

In the United States, the average residential electricity consumption is around 10,649 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This translates to an average monthly consumption of approximately 887 kWh. But what about your home?

Household Energy Consumption

First, start by evaluating how much electricity you use each month. Gather your utility bills from the past year and look for the monthly or annual energy usage figures in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This data will give you an idea of your average energy consumption.

Pay attention to any significant variations in energy usage throughout the year. Heating and cooling systems can significantly impact your electricity consumption — especially in Eastern Washington where temperatures get very hot and very cold. Make note of any months when your energy usage is higher or lower than the average.

Time for An Audit?

At this stage, it might be a great time to conduct a professional home energy audit or use online tools that allow you to assess your home’s energy usage. An energy audit may involve an inspection of your home’s insulation, HVAC systems, lighting, and other energy-consuming elements. It can provide a comprehensive analysis of where your home is losing energy and recommend energy-saving improvements.

You also should evaluate the efficiency of your appliances. Older or inefficient appliances can consume more electricity than newer, energy-efficient models. Look for the Energy Star label, which indicates appliances that meet high energy efficiency standards.

A home energy monitoring system or smart energy meter can track your energy consumption in real-time. These devices provide insights into which appliances or activities consume the most energy. By monitoring your usage, you can identify areas where energy-saving measures can be implemented.

Get Your Energy Independence

An Eye to the Future

Do you anticipate any changes to energy use in your home? Will your kids be going off to college? Will you be adding a second kitchen in the basement? Will you be replacing your old washer and dryer with newer energy-efficient models? Are you starting a family with young children who you expect to increase power usage over time?

These types of questions can help you plan for the size of your new solar power system and ensure you are capturing all the energy you want once your system is soaking up the sun and generating power for your home.

What Next?

Once you have conducted a thorough evaluation of your energy consumption, this knowledge will be invaluable when consulting with a solar energy provider, such as Solora Solar. They will use this information — along with the amount of derated sunlight you receive and your roof size and position — to design a solar power system tailored to your specific needs. The more accurate your assessment, the better they can estimate the size and capacity of the solar power system required to meet your energy goals.

Ready for that next step? Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Photo credit: Phillip Stewart