Solar Energy Use in NC – What Does It Look Like?

A few years back, I wrote an article for the Western North Carolina Solar Network (WNCSN) about how much residential solar energy use there is in North Carolina. Since some readers may have missed that article, I decided to republish it here with some additional information. Additionally, this article will review the current state of solar in North Carolina and analyze how much energy each household uses.

New Information In 2022

In 2022, there are more options and brands than ever of solar products and installations available. As a result, the information in this article may need to be revisited.

How Much Energy Does EACH Household Use?

The first thing to understand is that a household is not one person, but it is made up of several people who each have their own energy usage patterns. For example, some individuals are far more active than others, and as a result, spend a lot of time moving around while others might prefer to mostly sit and wait for things to happen. Inevitably, some people will have a TV remote control in hand while others will be on their phones all day long. All these factors combine to determine how much energy each household uses on a daily basis.

Another point to make is that one size does not fit all when it comes to solar energy and there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the design of your home’s solar installation. For instance, if you have a larger home with a lot of rooms and areas where you usually spend time alone, you might want to consider an over-sized system and more PV modules to generate a higher level of energy. There are pros and cons to both options, so you need to think about what is most important to you.

Where Does North Carolina Stand?

Based on current information, North Carolina ranks 7th in total installed capacity with 12.1 MW, just a little below Oklahoma with 12.9 MW and slightly above South Carolina with 12.3 MW. The overall state capacity is expected to double by next year.

The solar farm installations in North Carolina are dominated by SunPower, who hold 26% of the market share with 4.6 MW. Solar panels manufacturer SunTec also holds a strong 16% market share and has become an even bigger player in the state with the recent acquisition of Solared. Finally, we have the Japanese firm, Jinko Solar, who hold 7% of the market share and recently opened a new North Carolina manufacturing plant.

The cost of solar has decreased significantly over the past few years, and as a result, more people than ever are choosing to go solar. In 2022, the cost of a kilowatt hour (kWh) is at its lowest point ever – 11 cents – which makes installing solar even more affordable. As the cost of solar electricity continues its downward trend, more homeowners are discovering the many benefits of going solar.

Before you make a decision to install solar energy to save money on your electricity bills, it’s important to understand that this option can end up costing you more in the long run. If you’re planning to sell your home in the near future and need the roof to withstand the weather conditions of a potential buyer, you might end up spending more money making your house more energy efficient than you would have if you’d just kept your old energy bills and stayed comfortable in your home.

Where Do I Begin?

With a clear understanding of how much energy each household uses, you can begin to think about the type of solar system you might like to have and the optimal location for its installation.

If you need more electricity than your home’s solar array can generate, you have several options. First, you can increase the size of your array. Second, you can add more solar modules to it. Third, you can move to a better location with more sunlight. Finally, you can partner with an energy provider and purchase credit or a renewable energy plan that suits your needs.

If you need less electricity than your home’s solar array can provide, you might want to consider a different approach and look into the various forms of renewable energy that are available. The more energy you produce at home, the less you’ll need to purchase from your local energy provider. Plus, you can use energy you produce to help your home’s environment by keeping appliances such as refrigerators and freezers off.

The Downsides Of Going Solar

There are always going to be disadvantages to using any technology, and the same goes for going solar. If you plan on adding PV panels to your home, there are certain things you need to be aware of and consider before making a decision.

Physical And Mental Effects

Adding solar energy to your home can have a physical effect on those who use it. People who use solar energy report feeling healthier and more energetic and also observe that their skin looks better and they have more positive experiences with their mental faculties. However, there are also disadvantages to using solar energy. Some people experience discomfort and pain when using the sun’s energy and have a harder time sleeping due to brightness and noise created by the humming of the devices. There are also concerns about the health implications of solar energy and whether or not it’s safe for the ecosystem. Some people worry that the rays from the sun will cause skin cancer, and the solar industry has yet to fully prove that this is not the case.

Financial Considerations

Another important point to make is that adding solar energy to your home is not a financial decision to make lightly. When you compare the costs of purchasing and maintaining solar energy vs. the savings you’ll realize in energy bills, it’s clear that going solar isn’t something to take lightly. You’ll need to consider how much money you have to spend vs. how much money you’ll save in energy bills to make the financial case for going solar. Some people report savings of $3000 per year or more once they take into account all the savings from lower energy bills and any rebate checks they may receive from their local energy provider. Other people report that the costs of purchasing solar energy make it less attractive financially compared to staying with what they have now.

Sustainability Considerations

If you’re concerned about sustainability and want to minimize your home’s environmental impact, going solar isn’t the perfect option. You’ll need to balance the need for energy with the desire to sustain the environment. Some people choose to go solar because they want to reduce their electric bill, but they end up harming the environment in the process. When you use more electricity than you produce, you’re usually harming the environment by default. However, there are ways to help minimize this and choose sustainable energy options.

The above mentioned points should give you a good idea of what going solar looks like. If you need more information, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help!

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