The holiday season is coming, and of course, we want to light up our homes for the best time of the year. But that means the next utility bill will be one of the highest all year. How can homeowners light up the holidays without concern for the electric bill?
We will find out how much additional energy we use during the holiday for Christmas lighting. And how we can offset the holiday electric usage with solar energy.
Energy Consumption During The Holidays
In 2021, the average amount of electricity consumed by U.S. household utility customers was 10,632 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of about 886 kWh per month. As we head to the holiday season and friends and family gatherings, homeowners can expect that figure to have a 10% – 20% increase in December alone.
From the EIA (Energy Information Administration) data 2021, December average electricity usage is 1046 kWh, which is around 18% higher than normal.
So what exactly accounts for the increase in electricity usage? We all know that the winter weather may sometimes be extreme, and these conditions lead to the use of more electricity to warm the house.
Before we move on, here is some information about how to measure electricity use:
- Electricity used to power your home is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), a unit of energy equal to one kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power sustained for one hour.
- We use a light bulb as an example – 100 watts light bulb requires 100 watts hours of electricity to run for 1 hour. If you keep it on for 10 hours:
100 watts x 10 hrs = 1000 Wh = 1 kWh
That’s 1 kilowatt-hour added to your electricity bill.
Outdoor Holiday Light Decoration
We will use a 12ft by 5ft net LED light set as the live example. As decorations for holiday lighting, it indicates a total of 24W for the whole set. But the idea is to cover the roof as lighting decorations, so for an average of 2300 sft, it has a roof area of about 1500 sft. So we need a total of 25 sets of these energy-efficient LED lights to cover our roof with a nice lighting setup. So the total energy consumption will be around 600 watts.
For 10 hours of light-up-time, we use the equation above, and we will get 6 kWh (equals to 6000 watt-hours)
The average retail price of electricity in December 2021 was 13.75¢ per kilowatt hour, meaning that 6 kWh of electricity costs the average homeowner just about $0.83.
But remember that this is just for the rooftop lighting decorations. If you keep your light for 10 hours per day in a month, it will end up with a $23 electricity cost added to your bill.
The more lights you add to your house decorations, the more the bill will increase.
If you keep your Christmas lights on all day, the bill from the rooftop alone would be nearly $557 at the end of the month!
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So How Many Solar Panels Would Help To Power Your Home This Holiday Season?
Even with the holiday season energy spike in December, we can calculate how many solar panels the average homeowner in the U.S. would need to power their holidays.
With all your decorations and regular energy needs during December, you could be over 1000 kWh for the month.
This is probably one of the highest months for electricity usage during the year, so make sure your solar energy system meets your needs with all real-life factors while you speak with any solar companies.
Using our assumption above, you’d need a solar energy system producing around 12,000 kWh per year.
The next will be easy since we know the annual energy needs. Option One Solar comes up with a simple formula to roughly ballpark the solar power system size you need:
- Divide the annual kWh by 1600 (A ballpark estimate based on 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar installed in Southern California will produce 1600 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year in ideal conditions.) to get the kilowatts of solar capacity needed.
- We can calculate that you’d need roughly a 7.5kw solar energy system. (12,000/1,600 =7.5)
The best solar panels have a wattage of around 400W, and Option One Solar uses the bifacial panel to gain an additional 25% on the ground-mount system.
If you do roof-mount, you may need roughly 26 panels to power up your holiday (and the rest of the year) without worrying about any electricity bills.
If you’re interested in learning more about how solar can meet your home’s holiday energy needs and more, you can reach out to us for more information.