So why do more people not have solar energy?

Let’s do some math: my house uses an average of 1200 W of electricity continuously. I got that off my power bills and doing some simple math (yes Mr. Prentice, “Math is hard!”). I consider my house to be an average one in my part of Canada.

At 8760 hours per year, that is 10,512,000 Watt hours or 10, 512 kWh of electricity every year.

Edmonton gets about 2200 hours of sunlight per year on average. So in order to live off the grid and completely rely on solar power, you need your system to produce: 10,512/2200 = 4.8 kW of electricity when the sun is shining. If your average panel produces 100 W of power, you need 48 panels on your roof. Plus wiring, storage batteries and an inverter.

Yes there are ways to reduce your power bill. So let’s say you can get the average consumption down to 900W? Good, but you are only reducing the size of your system by 25 % so you still need 36 panels.

The costs can add up quickly and you still have to do maintenance on the system.

And what happens if your system gets pelted by a hail storm and you cannot aim the panels away? Damaged panels = more money for replacement.

It is tough being your own utility. Now if you can find a way to continuously generate between 1200 – 6000 W of power, you can be self-sufficient. Solar panels are not and cannot be your only answer.

Thoughts?