The Sun delivers roughly a kilowatt of energy to every square meter of the earths surface. Meaning, one meter of land provides enough energy to power ten light bulbs.
If the average rooftop is say 10 meters by 30, that’s 300 meters. Meaning the potential for energy is 300 kilowatts a day.
300 kilowatts, times 365 days a year equals 109,500 kilowatts of energy a year.
The sun doesn’t shine everyday, and this is assuming a perfect conversion rate. Solar panels are only 30% effective, meaning only 30,000 kw of energy is actually produced. Still more than enough energy to power a home, and the two homes next to it.
The sun doesn’t shine every day; a true statement. But it could not shine for 8 months, and there would still be enough power for a home. The average American household uses 11,040 Kwh as of 2008 4 months of sunshine is all that is necessary to cleanly power an American home.
The rub with solar power is not energy production at all, it’s energy storage. The roof of a house has the potential, with current means, to provide all the energy requirements for a home. But there is no effective way to store that energy.
Why then is so much money and effort devoted towards solar panel development? What is needed now, is an efficient way to store and discharge energy. Solar panels work, it’s time to bring batteries up to speed!