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IPFS News Link • Energy

What it really takes to power your home for a day


Like any good consumer, you've filled your home with power-thirsty screens and toasters. And they make your average American abode chug 30 kilowatt-hours of electricity every single day. (A kilowatt-hour, by the way, is 1,000 watts used over one hour. But you knew that.) Producing your daily juice requires various amounts of gas, coal, oil, wind, solar, water, or nuclear fuel, depending on your energy sources. But what if your home relied on just one of these? Here's how each of them would measure up.

Solar panels
You'd need: 450 square feet
One 300-watt, 18-square-foot solar panel can transform an average day of California sunshine into 1.2 kilowatt-hours. So you'd need to screw about 25 of them onto your Hollywood roof to cover one spin of the globe.

Natural gas
You'd need: 324 cubic feet
This stuff burns cleaner and cheaper than coal, and it's plentiful (thanks, fracking), which is why it recently topped all other electricity sources: 34 percent of what we consume. You would need about 41 bathtubs full each day.