The Energy Show · How many solar panels needed to electrify my home

Stop burning fossil fuels and electrify everything. That’s the path that humanity must follow to avoid a global warming calamity.

Two technological changes have made it both practical and economical to transition to an (almost) all electric economy. First, heat pumps, EVs and induction cooking are now practical replacements for furnaces, hot water heaters, gasoline-powered cars and stoves. Second, inexpensive solar and wind electricity mean that these appliances and vehicles are cheaper to operate than their fossil-fueled ancestors. Of course electric appliances are cleaner, and in many cases provide more comfort, convenience and safety.

I added the word “almost” since long distance transportation (trucks, rail, airplanes) and industrial process (steel, cement) heat are still more practical and cheaper when powered by fossil fuels. The clean solutions to these transportation and industrial processes are still a few years away.

Almost without exception, all of our potential solar customers are intrigued by the possibility of electrifying their homes. But they have two questions. First, how many more solar panels will they need for their rooftop system to power their home? Second, what will the savings be for this fossil fuel to solar conversion?

The transition to electrifying your home powered by solar is being accelerated by the crazy increases in electricity and methane costs. Here in Silicon Valley, electricity rates are going up at 10% a year, and methane (AKA natural gas) rates are going up at 8% a year. My wife also reminds me that gasoline prices are ridiculously high (I’m oblivious since I drive an EV).

So how many solar panels will be required when electrifying your home to zero out your electric and gas bills…and become carbon zero?

The answer boils down to answering four simple questions about your home:
1. What are your current electricity and methane bills per month?
2. What is the efficiency of your current appliances?
3. How many miles do you drive per year?
4. What is your home’s solar exposure?

Please tune in to this week’s Energy Show for a step-by-step overview of the incremental number of solar panels needed to fully electrify a typical home in the U.S.