Building a Home with Solar Panels? Here’s What You Should Know


Building a home with solar panels is a great idea for many reasons, but it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.

In the last decade or so, solar power has gone from a trendy add-on to a mainstream feature that most home builders give some consideration. The more we understand about the environmental challenges that we face in the future, the better solar panels seem. There’s also the potential of saving a lot of money by getting off the grid.

Today, we’re going to give you the important facts on solar panels so you can make an informed decision. There are a lot of perks to having solar panels, but they’re also a big investment, so the more you know, the better off you’ll be.

The Cost of Solar Panels

Obviously, the first thing you’ll want to know when deciding on solar panels is whether or not they’re worth it. Panels cost between $2.50 and $3.50 per watt, so to figure out how much your solar unit will run you, you need to calculate how much you need.

You can get a rough number by finding the wattage of each of your appliances and multiplying it by the number of hours you use the appliances per day. Divide that number by 1,000 to get the daily kWh.

A small home might need a 5 kWh system, while a larger one might need 7.5 kWh, which would cost roughly $15,000 and $25,000, respectively. It’s a big price tag, but over time, you’ll save enough on your bills and tax credits to outweigh the initial cost.

Getting It Right

The way you set up the solar panel determines how effective it’ll be. You want to have as much solar energy beaming down on your panels as possible, so it’s important to work with experts, like the ones at when installing your unit.

Since the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, solar panels are always oriented in this fashion, though you can optimize it even further depending on where in the world you live. The biggest thing is not to have large trees or buildings nearby preventing the sunlight from getting through.

On-or-Off Grid

One big decision you have to make is whether you’ll be completely off the city grid or tied to it. Almost all solar users in America are tied to a public utility grid.

This means that your solar panel powers your home like you’d expect, but any excess energy gets sent out to the public grid. When you need energy at night or during bad weather, you draw it from the public grid like a normal utility. By law, you get a tax credit for contributing to the public grid.

Going off-grid is usually only done when it’s near-impossible to connect to a public grid. When you do this, you usually have batteries that provide your power, which is then recharged by your solar panels. Some people go with the best of both worlds and have grid-tied solar power with a battery backup to use in emergency situations where you can’t connect to the grid.

Making the Best Choice for Your Situation

Now that you know a bit more about how solar panels really work, you can make the best decision for your home. It’s important to note that you don’t have to install a huge panel right away, you can start small and add more when you can afford it.

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  1. Thank you for talking about how you can use solar panels to power a house when bad weather ends up cutting off the electricity. I feel like this could be a great thing to have for my upcoming house construction project that can allow us to store electricity for the long run, especially since we plan to use a lot of electronic devices in our house. I’ll start looking for solar panel contractors in the area and have them recommend me a panel system that best fits my construction project.


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