Solar Panels FAQ: Part II

Last week we started our series about solar panels, we’ll continue to talk about them today.  You can find part one of this series here.

How Much Sun Do I Need?

Obviously, solar panels work best and create the most energy when there is a lot of sunshine.  Homeowners in Texas are usually happy with a solar panel system because they get a lot of sun.  One way to decide if you have enough solar energy in your area is to compare the annual amount of sun to your annual electricity usage.  Luckily, there’s a place where you can look up your area’s solar irradiance.  Basically, if you live in a darker part of the country and you need a lot of electricity then a solar panel will not meet all of your electrical needs.  That doesn’t mean that you should write them off completely, solar panels can still help and will provide part of the power of your home.  When they can longer give your home power, the bi-directional meter will automatically switch your power to pull from the city’s utilities grid.  Solar panels have come a long way and here in Texas, we love how solar panels don’t just utilize the sun’s energy but also provide some much needed shade for your home.


There’s no way around it, solar panels are an up-front investment, the exact amount can be calculated with your custom home builder, but here’s some information to help you get a rough idea.  The more electricity you need, the larger the system that you will need, this is also relative to the percentage of energy for your home that you expect your solar system to provide.  In Texas, the average cost of installing a solar panel system is just under $18,000, this figure takes into account government funded rebate programs for which you may be eligible.  Some of these will pay you back over time, while others are a one-time payment.


Most people are under the impression that the installation of solar panels in their home equals big savings on their utility bills.  Savings are all relative and they also depend on credit that your utility company will give you for unused power as well as how much power you currently used compared with how much power your solar system will provide.  The average savings in Texas after 2 years is just over $20,000 which is also the average for the entire United States.


Many custom home owners worry about how solar panels will fit in with their home’s design, but now a lot of solar panels are incorporated into windows, siding, shingles, or other building materials for a seamless integration into your dream home’s design.

*All the estimates of costs provided are from One Block off the Grid.