Frequently Asked Questions Related To How Many Solar Panels Power A House
Do you still have an electricity bill with solar panels?
Once you install solar panels, youll still receive a monthly electricity bill. However, it should be lower/close to zero, or even negative! If youre still experiencing high utility bills after installing solar panels, you may need to reconsider the size of your system. Especially if you have added electricity loads since your solar installation , your current system size just might not cut it anymore.
Are there disadvantages to powering a home with solar panels?
The two main disadvantages of solar energy are the high upfront costs and intermittency, meaning that solar energy isnt available 24/7 due to the simple fact that the sun doesnt shine at night. Luckily, that problem can be partially sorted with solar energy storage. Check out our article about the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy to learn more.
Are solar panels worth it?
Depending on your electricity prices, your energy needs, your desire to be eco-friendly, and your homes geographic location, solar panels are definitely worth installing. While the initial investment in solar panels is high, they do pay off over time by cutting down on your electricity bill. On average, EnergySage solar shoppers break even on their solar investment in about eight years.
How Many Hours Of Daily Sunlight Does Your State Receive
The sunlight available to produce electricity varies greatly throughout the United States. Southwest states like California and Arizona get the most sunshine, while northeast states like New York and Massachusetts get the least.
However, you should not discard solar power just because you live in a state that isnt sunny. For example, New York only gets moderate sunshine, but it has very high electricity prices. Solar panels are worth it in this case, since they achieve high savings even with reduced production. Saving 750 kWh when you are charged 25 cents/kWh is better than saving 1,000 kWh at 12 cents.
After estimating how many panels are needed in your home, you can make better purchasing decisions. Keep in mind that you dont have to pay the full system cost upfront. Many banks finance for solar panels, and you can pay off the loan with the electricity savings achieved. Leasing solar panels is also a viable option, where you pay a monthly price instead of purchasing the system. Your local solar installer may offer several purchasing options, adapting to your needs.
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Can I Use Solar Panels To Completely Power My Home
Texans bask in the constant presence of the sun all summer long. But beyond serving as a source of beautiful sunsets and seemingly perpetual heat, we rarely stop to consider other ways the sun affects our lives.
The concept of green energy as a way to provide power for our planet without using fossil fuels is increasingly a topic of public discussion. As awareness of green energy options grow, more and more people are looking for alternative energy sources to power their homes, which brings up a multitude of questions. In the case of solar energy, the two most commonly asked questions are:
- How much will solar panels cost?
- How many panels would I need to power my home?
The short answer to both? It depends. Its based on a host of factors including, how much energy you use in your home and how much sun hits your roof on a regular basis. While itstill may be too expensive for most people to install solar panels on their homes, prices for the panels and installation are coming down. Chariot exists to offer 100% solar energy at competitively priced rates without the need for personal panels.
But before you call your nearest solar panel installation company to get a quote for your home, its essential you understand some crucial details about solar panels and solar energy.
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How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Run A House
Are you thinking about adding solar to your home? With over 2 million homes in the United States with solar now, many homeowners are recognizing how beneficial they are. If youre considering having solar panels installed in your home and not sure where to start, then youve come to the right place.
Were going to go over the details of how solar panels work and how many you might need for your home.
Lets take a look.
How Many Solar Panels Does It Take To Run A Water Pump
A 1HP water pump is equivalent to 746 watts electrical. The actual watts it uses when running will depend on the load.
Normally, pumps are designed to run a little below their power rating, so I would expect such a pump to run comfortably at 500 watts.
So could you use 500 watts of solar panel to power it? Maybe, maybe not!
Pumps experience increased load when starting, call inrush or surge current, which can be several times more than its running current.
You could use 600 or 700 watts solar for a 1HP pump if you also used a battery to act as an energy storage reservoir to supply the extra current.
If not battery was going to be used, then it would be wise to use 1000 to 1200 watts of solar panels to make sure they can supply the pump motor surge current.
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Determining Your Power Needs: How Much Power Does Your Home Consume
The first step in determining how many solar panels and batteries you need to power your home is finding out how much power your home is actually using. There is a mathematical way to determine this, which will get you close or, there is a simple way to determine your needs that will only cost you about $20.
Estimating your power consumption: Method 1
The first way looks at the manufacturers guidelines to determine power draw. The wattage of an appliance can usually be found on a label attached to the power cord. Its listed in either amps or watts you want to know the watts dont worry if it doesnt tell you there is a simple formula for figuring it out.
Volts x Amps = Watts.
For simplicity sake, the average household wiring is 120 volts chances are, your appliances and anything you plug into the wall runs at 120 volts. Trust me on this one.
So lets say the tag on your appliance says it draws three amps you simply multiply 120 x 3 giving you 360 Watts! Now you know how many watts that appliance uses per hour.
Solar Power For The Home: Costs
Solar power is capital intensive, and the main cost of owning a system comes upfront when buying the equipment. The solar module will almost certainly represent the largest single component of the overall expense.
Other equipment necessary for installation includes an inverter , metering equipment , and various housing components along with cables and wiring gear.
Some homeowners also consider battery storage. Historically, batteries have been prohibitively expensive and unnecessary if the utility pays for excess electricity that is fed into the grid . The installation labor cost must also be factored in.
In addition to installation costs, there are some further costs associated with operating and maintaining a PV solar array. Aside from cleaning the panels regularly, inverters and batteries generally need replacement after several years of use.
While the above costs are relatively straightforwardoften a solar installation company can quote a price for these for a homeownerdetermining subsidies available from the government and/or your local utility can prove more of a challenge. Government incentives change often, but historically, the U.S. government has allowed a tax credit of up to 30% of the system’s cost.
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First Factor: Annual Energy Usage
Every homeowners annual home energy usage is different. In the United States, the monthly power consumption of an average household is 893 kilowatt hours. Factors include: the number of people you have in your home, the appliances you use, the size of your home all of these things come into play. An obvious factor is that the bigger the family, the more energy consumption through electricity usage. A bigger home means more energy to power everything, including more lights, a larger HVAC, and the list goes on. But are you aware of the amount of energy the appliances in your home use?
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Run My Appliances?
What uses the most energy in your home? If you guessed heating and cooling your home, you are correct! Space heating and cooling can be blamed for 30% of why your monthly electricity bill is so high. And as the planet heats up, the weather is getting more extreme, leading to bigger heating and cooling needs to stay comfortable.
A deeper dive into how households consume energy shows the following breakdown:
Dont worry if this seems like a lot of information. Our sister company, Energypro, is made up of energy efficiency experts. They provide tips on how to lower usage in each category and save money on your utility bills.
How To Read Your Electric Bill
How Many Solar Panels You Need Size Of Your Roof And Solar Panels
You can install your solar panels virtually anywhere that the sun hits. The most common place to set them, though, is in the roof since it is substantially exposed to the sun.
Logically, you cant fit too many solar panels if the size of your roof doesnt allow it. A typical residential solar panel has a size of 65 x 39. Thats 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet. A standard tiny home thats 8 by 20 feet can only have up to 6 solar panels of that said size in the roof.
Solar panels are usually able to produce 250 to 400 watts of power. Say your tiny house is exposed to 5 hours of sunlight a day and your solar panel is able to produce 250 watts, youll compute it this way = 5 x 250 watts. In this case, youll produce 1,250 watt-hours per day or 1.2 kWh. Thats roughly 430-450 kWh of energy per year.
A 1.5kW solar panel system will need about 6 solar panels, assuming each panel produces 250 watts. In this example, a 1.5kW solar system will perfectly fit a standard tiny house .
Assuming a 1.5kW solar panel system isnt enough to 100% power your home. You would need a solar system with higher kW production. A 3.5kW solar panel system requires up to 14 solar panels, which wouldnt fit in a standard-sized tiny house.
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Factors That Will Impact The Number Of Solar Panels You Need
Although the square footage of your building will be a piece of the final puzzle, the number of panels you will need is ultimately determined by the following four factors:
How much electricity do you use? We like to look at your most recent 6 to 12 months of energy usage. Thanks to Net Metering, we can use this history to properly size your system to cover 100% of your yearly usage in most cases.
Put it where the sun shines – The amount of direct sunlight your roof receives will vary based on where you live and the time of year . Thankfully, we have tools like this U.S. State Solar Resource Map from NREL and extensive local weather station data, as well as other software to help calculate the amount of sunshine in your region. States in the mid-Atlantic region are averaging 4.7 peak sun hours each day.
Not all roofs are created equal – Generally speaking, the perfect roof has a 30° pitch and is facing due south. Since thats not always realistic, a less than perfect roof may need more panels to produce the energy you need. The good news is solar panels are becoming more and more efficient. These improvements have made it more cost-effective to install panels on roofs that face east/west and arent the perfect pitch.
Calculating The Size Of Your Solar Pv System
Now you know how much power you typically use and the times of day you use it. What capacity will your solar PV system need to be to cover your power usage?
First, we’re assuming you’ll have a grid-connected system. This is by far the most common type and it simply means you have solar panels generating electricity during the day, and a grid connection to supply electricity when the solar panels aren’t generating enough . See grid-connected vs off-grid for more.
How much electricity can you expect per kW of solar panels?
Solar PV systems are rated in watts or kilowatts . You’ll see systems described as 4kW, 5kW, 10kW and so on.
1kW of solar panels = 4kWh of electricity produced per day .
For each kW of solar panels, you can expect about 4kWh per day of electricity generation. So a 6.6kW solar system will generate about 26.4kWh on a good day .
It’s just a general rule the actual amount of electricity generated per kW of solar panels depends on your location, the time of year and the amount of sunlight you’re getting, the quality of the system, the orientation of the panels, how old they are, and so on. In southern regions such as Hobart it could be as low as 3.5kWh per day, while the same 1kW of panels in Darwin could generate 5kWh.
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Guarantee And Extras Included In The Price
When calculating how many panels you need for your home and how much they will cost, you also need to take into account other expenses that may or may not be included in the final cost for the installation. The number of years of guarantee is also a very important factor to take into account, as it could mean the difference between whether or not future cost overruns may appear.
For example, at Endesa X our installations enjoy the following:
- Solar modules with a 12-year guarantee.
- Power inverter with a 10-year guarantee.
- Structure of the installation with a 10-year guarantee.
- Installation and procedures included.
What Is The Effect Of Solar Panel Size
If you have a small or unusually shaped roof, solar panel size and numbers are important considerations. With a large usable roof area, perhaps you can sacrifice some efficiency and buy more larger panels to get to your target energy output. But if your usable roof area is limited, or if its partially shaded, being able to use fewer smaller high efficiency panels may be the best way to make the most possible power over the long term, ultimately saving you more money.
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Key Points To Keep In Mind
Although the upfront costs of a residential solar system might seem high, there are a few ways to save money on your investment. For instance, the federal government provides a tax credit on new solar installations, and many state and local governments offer rebates or incentive programs. Alternatively, if you can’t afford to purchase your panels, you can choose to rent them .
Figuring out the number of solar panels you need is only part of the equation. Learn more about the benefits and costs of home solar from CNET:
Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight To Work
Not necessarily! Solar panels can produce power even on cloudy days. In fact, even if its snowing or hailing, as long as theres some light, your solar panels can generate electricity!
That being said, its true that your solar panels will reach maximum efficiency during peak sunshine hours.
There are ways to make your solar panels even more effective. You should install them on a south-facing roof, where theyll catch the most rays. Its also best to install them at a 30-40 degree angle.
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Whats The Biggest Electricity Consumer In Your House
If your home is typical, your biggest electricity usage is probably for heating, cooling, or both. Because this is climate-dependant, the average household electricity usage depends largely on the region of the country.
However 4,000 sqft and larger homes are quite a bit bigger than the typical house, so this rule of thumb might not apply. Such a large home might have some big-ticket electricity consumers that average homes dont have, such as pool heating or a hot tub. Plus, it takes more electricity to heat and cool that much square footage.
How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Generate
Solar panels are rated in wattage most solar panels are between 250 and 400 watts. Note that this reflects how many watts a solar panel produces in one hour under optimal conditions in other words, in direct sunlight.
We can calculate how much power a solar panel will generate using the amount of direct sunlight an area gets, on average, per day. For example, in Michigan, there are usually about 4.1 hours of direct sunlight per day.
That means we could expect about 1000 watt-hours of power from a 250 W solar panel each day, or approximately 1 kWh. Conversely, a 400 W solar panel would produce about 1.6 kWh a day.
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