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The answer would be no for most solar arrays. When the power grid goes down, the solar also stops producing. Inverters are grid excited and need a minimum voltage to start up and begin producing energy. You would need a battery back-up for your solar array to store the energy being produced and be able to release it when the power goes out. Battery back-up systems are not common in our area at this time due to their cost and lifespan. Typically a whole home generator is a better fit for the needs of our Members.

The number of panels you need will depend on how many kilowatt hours you use per month. You will also need to consider if there are times of the year where you use more energy than others such as winter heating months or grain drying months.

On average, a rural residential consumer uses roughly 15,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. If you installed 350-watt premium solar panels, you would need around 37 solar panels to generate enough energy to power your entire home.

How many it would take for your home? Call our Member Service Department at 800-253-5189.

Find out more about WIPCO's solar offerings and questions you should ask by visiting our other solar pages at

Renewable Energy | Western Iowa Power Cooperative (