This is a common question: how big a solar system do I need to turn my home into a Sacramento solar home? The answer to that is that it all depends on the amount of electricity that you consume in your home. Most people think that it is the size of the home that determines the size of the solar system that you install; this is not true. What matters is how much electricity you use. A standard home will have to boil water, it will have to iron clothes, wash clothes, it will have a stove and a refrigerator, TV, DVD player and other such modern conveniences, including lighting in and outside of the house and the air conditioner. A system that can deliver 3 or 4 kW is enough for this kind of home. Additional electricity consumption will require a bigger system. The good news for owners who want a solar home is that they can get a system that can deliver up to 7 kW with no trouble at all. Here's what to do: Find average consumption - in kilowatt hours - for last 12 months. If you are currently set up on your regular electricity grid, they send you a bill every month. The number of kW that you consume every month is indicated in your bill. Total the kW for the last 12 months and you will get an indication of just how much electricity you use. If you can pass this calculation on to a solar installer, he will tell you just the right size of solar system for you. Get a system that meets your needs now and in future It is important to leave some leg room especially if you have a young family. Usage usually keeps growing until the kids leave home; they acquire their own electronics, there is more laundry, you have to cook bigger meals and so on. All these things will increase your consumption so take that into account when you are settling for a solar energy system. Calculating how much electricity your appliances consume Many homeowners have no idea how much they are spending in electricity bills for their appliances; they may be paying for appliances that they don't even know. The best way to find out how much electricity the gadgets in your home are consuming is to buy a watt-hour meter. It is a simple cheap device that tells you through an LED screen how much electricity an electronic is consuming. It is easy to use. You plug the gadget into the watt-hour meter and then plug the meter into the wall. There are also formulas available online that teach you how to do a manual calculation. The more specific your usage, the better you are able to choose your solar energy system. As much as possible, utilize the experience of a solar installer. So long as you can tell them how much electricity you have used in the past year, they are usually happy to advice you on the kind of system you need.