• When most people look into going solar, they are looking to eliminate existing power bills that are accrued by the typical power usages : air conditioning, appliances, lighting, televisions, etc. Occasionally though, some homeowners contact us looking to install solar to offset a future home addition, as in, they want to install in preparation for a future electric bill increase caused by a planned home improvement. These additions can be for pleasure or work purposes, but either way, certain additions can add alot of usage to a power bill, but likely can be easily offset by installing solar. 

    To give you an idea of the types of improvements people are installing for, we compiled a list of ten common home additions that homeowners install solar to offset.

    1. Pools / Hot Tubs

    The most common home addition that homeowners plan to offset with their solar are pools and hot tubs. When it comes to pools, the pumps needed to keep them clean have to be run around 8 hours a day. For those that don’t know, the pool pump is essentially the circulation system used to move the water through a filter and then back into the pool. Running that for 8 hours a day can use a ton of power, as the average 3 horsepower pump uses around 3.17kWh. 

    Hot tubs are another common home addition that homeowners will install solar to offset. While hot tubs don’t require the high powered pump systems that a pool does, the heaters that they use do a good amount of energy. An average 240 volt hot tub heater uses around 7.5kW, and while they don’t need to be run as long as a pool pump, they can still add a significant amount of electrical usage, depending on frequency of use. 

  • 2.  Electric Car Chargers

    Many homeowners are turning to electric cars to reduce their gas consumption. Part of the deal with electric cars is that you have to charge them at home, which can add a lot of electric consumption. Luckily for homeowners who install solar, they can offset the electric consumption required by the car charger, which means they basically are charging, and therefore fueling, their car with solar. Consumption will be based on electric car model and the amount the homeowner drives, but typically the added electric bill is anywhere from $50 - $250 a month, which saves hundreds of dollars in gas. Installing solar can easily offset this amount, which when you add the gas savings, really adds up.

    3.  Garden Pond Pumps

    Another common offset that homeowners will ask about is garden pond pumps. Whether it’s a koi pond, a fountain, or just a decorative pond, many homeowners have these running in their yards constantly. While they use minimal power to run, they typically run all day and night, which can add up.

  • 4.  Industrial Sized Freezers / Fridges

    Some homeowners have large freezers or fridges for various reasons. Whether it’s a freezer for storing food for a home restaurant business, or a fridge for cooling medical supplies, large fridges and freezers can add some significant consumption. The average cost of running an industrial-sized freezer (8’x10’) is around $111 per month, which is probably more like $150 a month in San Diego. 

    5.  Photo / Video / High-End Electronics

    For those that are serious video producers, photographers, and even gamers, high-end computers and other electronics are required to get the job done right. The computers needed for these professions / hobbies use a lot of processing power, and therefore use a lot of electricity. So for those that need those fast processors - solar can be a good choice to keep power bills in control.

  • 6.  Greenhouses

    Many homeowners who take to growing their own vegetables and plants at home utilize Greenhouses, which rely on electric powered irrigation systems and fans to maintain their plants. Depending on the size, these setups, including the lights, irrigation systems, fans, etc. could eat up a ton of power. It’s hard to estimate just how much power a greenhouse could use, but it is likely significant even for a small grow.

  • 7. Private Servers

    As more and more business owners move their businesses into their homes, that means that more of them are moving their IT into their homes. That means things like private servers are being be moved into the home, and that homeowners will be eating the power they use as an expense. Private servers use anywhere from 500 to 1,200 watts per hour, which can be a heavy addition to a home power bill.

  • 8.  Workshops

    Some homeowners with home workshops may use a lot of power by using their power tools. Tools like table saws, drills, routers, planers can all use a lot of power, especially if they are used for many hours a day. For homeowners who have a home business where they have to use power tools a lot, or are simply hobbyists who use tools frequently, installing solar could fully offset their usage.

  • 9.  Home Gyms

    These days, many homeowners are opting for home gyms as opposed to public gyms. Home gyms have their obvious advantages: uncrowded machines, privacy, clean equipment, etc. Depending on the type of equipment being used, and the frequency, a treadmill or standing bike may use a significant amount of power. Combined with the A/C required to keep the home gym cool, solar can help offset the extra costs those machines accrue.

    10. Granny Flats / Accessory Dwellings

    With the price of housing going up, and rents along with it, more homeowners are adding granny flats and accessory dwellings to their properties either to rent out or to house family members. For either setup, homeowners can depend on electric bills going up due to extra usage by the occupant in the extra dwelling. By installing solar, homeowners can offset this increase, either to profit more from rentals, or to keep bills stable upon a new occupant moving in.

    So you can see that there are many applications for solar offset that aren’t plainly obvious - and these are just a few of them. Whether you're a business owner working from home, or are looking to rent a unit on your property, or simply just want to add a pool - solar can save you money, or even allow you to make more profit. Many of these additions can add value to the home, so solar is an easy way to offset costs early on that can lead to bigger profits off the home sale in the future. It’s also the best year to go solar EVER as the 30% Federal Tax Credit will be expiring after this year, so if you’ve been waiting to make that home addition or go solar, this is the year to do it.

  • About the Author

    Michael Powers


    Michael is one of the founding partners of Stellar Solar. In 2001, he helped launch The Home Depot’s national solar energy program which is now offering home solar through hundreds of stores in nearly a dozen states. He is a writer and marketing professional with over 30 years’ experience in the fields of energy, market intelligence and leadership training. He currently serves as treasurer and board member of Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), a San Diego-based non-governmental organization that advocates linking renewable energy resources around the world using electricity transmission.