Installing Solar Panels On My House: The Basics Of On
From DIYers to door to door salesmen, home solar power has exploded in popularity in recent years.
There are many reasons one might install solar energy, from environmental to economic to emergency preparation.
There are two main methods with which we can install solar power into our homes.
On-Grid, and Off-Grid.
You should consider what you want out of solar when selecting either approach.
Well be giving a brief description of each before diving deeper into each method.
On-grid solar involves connecting your home solar system to the power grid of your city.
On-grid solar setups will feed excess energy generated by your panels back into the electrical grid of your utility company.
Depending on your local regulations, number of panels, and hours of sunlight, this could result in an electricity bill that is reduced, free, or in a bill that actually pays you for your electrical contributions to the grid.
Door-to-door salesmen typically offer on-grid solar setups.
Off-grid solar, as the name implies, involves a home solar setup that is independent of any power grid.
This can be appealing for cabins or other homes that are separated from the electrical grid, or as an emergency backup in case of grid failure.
Off-grid solar setups typically incorporate battery banks to capture the power generated during the day for use during non-sunlight hours.
Its also common to use off-grid solar in coordination with a diesel generator for emergencies.
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.
Determine Your Energy Usage
Check out your most recent power bill to see your monthly electricity consumption. In most cases, the total amount of electricity used will be shown at the bottom of the bill in kilowatt-hours .
Your yearly energy usage will give you the best estimate for how many solar panels you need, as energy usage fluctuates in different seasons .
Because monthly energy usage varies so much, it can be beneficial to dig up your monthly electric bills for the past year, add the electric usage together, and divide by 12.
But using just one utility bill to find your energy consumption is still enough for a ballpark estimate.
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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.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My Roof Design
The design of your roof determines how the solar panels will be installed, and how much sunlight they will get. If your roof is well-angled and spacious enough, it can accommodate a large solar panel system. If there is only a small available area, you may be forced to install a reduced system with costlier panels to generate the solar power you want.
The direction your roof faces also impacts the amount of sunlight your solar panels will receive. If your roof faces in a direction that receives less sunlight, your solar company might have to adjust the orientation of your system to get you sufficient electricity. That is why it is important to talk with a professional solar installation company like Palmetto when installing a solar panel system.
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How To Estimate The Number Of Solar Panels You Need
So, based on these factors, how many solar panels power a home? To roughly determine how many solar panels you need without a professional assessment, you’ll need to figure out two basic things: how much energy you use and how much energy your panels will produce.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration , the average American home uses 10,649 kWh of energy per year. However, this varies depending on the state. For example:
- Louisiana homes have the highest average consumption, at 14,787 kWh per year.
- Hawaii homes have the lowest average consumption, at 6,298 kWh per year.
To more closely estimate how much energy you use annually, add up the kWh reported on your last 12 power bills. These numbers will fluctuate based on factors like the size of your home, the number of residents, your electricity consumption habits and the energy efficiency rating of your home devices.
Cost Of Solar Power In Canada 2021
Published by Rylan Urban on Jan 14, 2019. Last updated March 11, 2021.
The average installation cost of solar power in Canada is $3.01/watt, or $22,500 for a 7.5kW system.
However, the cost of solar power changes depending on the size of the system required, your eligibility for solar incentives, the type of equipment used, and even on the province that you live in.
This page explains how to accurately calculate the cost of solar power for your property in just 3 steps. You can read from top to bottom or jump to your preferred section by clicking on it below:
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If You Have A Large House This Article Will Tell You How Many Solar Panels You Need To Power It
Homeowners interested in going solar often want to know how many solar panels it will take to power their house.
The most accurate way to find that out is to get a professional solar installer to perform an analysis on your home. A quick but somewhat less accurate way is to read your monthly electric bill and use our solar calculator to determine what your power generation and estimated system price would be.
Using the calculator takes only a minute, but if you simply want to know how many solar panels it takes to power a 3,000 sqft house based on the average electricity usage across the nation, here it is. According to the Energy Information Administration , the average house in the United States that is 3,000 sqft or larger in size uses 14,214 kWh annually, or 1,185 kWh per month.
If that house has a south facing roof without any shading during the day, it would need anywhere between 19 and 30 premium solar panels to generate that much electricity. In this case, âpremiumâ refers to solar panels with an output rating of about 400 watts, which are the highest efficiency panels currently available. These include, for example, the SunPower A Series and LG NeON 2 series.
Calculate How Many Solar Panels You Need For Your Home
The average American home needs between 19 and 23 solar panels based on the average electricity usage of 877 kilowatt-hours per month. Installing that many solar panels would cost between $13,000 and $16,200 after the federal solar tax credit.
However, chances are your energy usage doesnt line up exactly with the U.S. average, plus the number of solar panels you need depends on several other factors, like the location of your home and what kind of solar panels you choose.
So how exactly do you figure out how many solar panels you need? Weve got you covered.
Calculate how many solar panels you will need to power your specific home
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And Finally Lets Do Out The Math
We have our three main assumptions now how do those numbers translate to an estimated number of solar panels for your home? The formula looks like this:
Number of panels = system size / production ratio / panel wattage
Plugging our numbers in from above, we get:
Number of panels = 10,649 kW / 1.3 or 1.6 / 320 W
which gives us between 20 and 25 panels in a solar array, depending on which production ratio we use . 25 panels each at 320 W results in a total system size of 8 kW, which is right around the average for EnergySage shoppers looking for a solar installer. Tada!
How Many Solar Panels Do You Need For A 2000 Sq Ft Home
Estimating the number of panels based on home area is an indirect approach, since you must assume the kWh consumption. Some homes have more efficient appliances, and habits also influence electricity usage. However, average values can be calculated from official data:
- The US Energy Information Administration estimated that the average home uses 867 kWh monthly
- The US Census Bureau determined that single-family homes have an average area of 2467 square feet
- When dividing these values, you obtain 0.35 kWh per square foot
Assuming 0.35 kWh for a 2,000 sq. ft. home, the estimated electricity consumption is 700 kWh. At this point, you can use the calculation procedure described in the previous section. Considering 6 peak sun hours per day and 300-watt panels, you need 16 to produce 700 kWh each month.
If you have limited roof space, the best recommendation is installing the most efficient solar panels available. This will maximize the watts installed per square foot, compensating the area limitation. Finding out how efficient solar panels are is simple: you must only divide their individual wattage and area. The panels with the most watts per square foot have the highest efficiency.
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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.
Local Solar Energy Potential
Aside from your personal electricity demand, the reality of going solar is only possible if local conditions make it advantageous to do so. While northern parts of the United States and Canada have limited sunlight, areas with extended cloud coverage may also limit solar potential, and necessitate additional panels to be installed.
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What Type Of Solar Panels Should I Install
The choice of solar panel type can be based on efficiency, cost, and available space. Some types of solar panel are more efficient that others, and this would affect the number of panels you need to install.
For example, you need less space to install monocrystalline panels compared to thin film and polycrystalline solar panels.
There are different types of solar panels that can be installed on your roof, but the most commonly installed panels are monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels.
- Lower efficiency rate compared to monocrystalline
- More sensitive to high temperatures compared to monocrystalline
How Do I Calculate How Many Solar Panels I Need
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How Much Does A Solar Panel Cost
Prices have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. According to consumer reports, after solar tax credits are accounted for, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from $11,000 to $15,000.
What Is Solar Power For The Home
Homeowners who install photovoltaic power systems receive numerous benefits: lower electric bills, lower carbon footprints, and potentially higher home values. But these benefits typically come with significant installation and maintenance costs, and the magnitude of the gains can vary widely from one house to another. This article will help homeowners make the financial calculations required to determine the viability of solar power in their homes.
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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 Do I Need For A 2500 Sq Ft Home
The rule of thumb is 30 watts per square foot. For a 2500 sq ft home, you would need 9000-12500 solar panels. Thats between $108,000 to $144,000 worth of equipment! However that doesnt take into account the cost savings and tax credits you will receive by installing solar energy systems in your area.
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How Much Storage Capacity Do I Need
Many solar systems supplement what is coming in from the grid to reduce your homes energy costs. Others may use a smart meter that regulates where energy is drawn from, using grid energy when panels are insufficient and putting power back into the grid when there is a surplus.
Whats becoming more popular is storing surplus energy for times when the sun is not shining. Storage is accomplished by installing a battery bank in your house.
Both lead-acid and lithium ions batteries are suitable for this purpose. Lead-acid batteries, like those in your vehicles, are the cheapest option. But, they do not last as long and require deep cycling to charge correctly. Lithium-ion has higher up-front costs but will last much longer.
Batteries are rated in terms of Amp Hours, the number of hours they can run at a given Amperage. So, a 400 amp-hour battery can run at 4 amps for 100 hours. You can convert this to kWh by multiplying ti by the voltage and dividing by 1,000.
So, a 400 amp-hour battery running at 6 volts would supply 2.4 kWh of power . If your home uses 30 kWh per day, it would require 13 batteries .
Again, you will want to budget for a bit extra to compensate for faulty batteries, poor charging, loss to inverters, and other losses in the system.
Determine How Much Sunlight You Receive In Your Area
You need to determine how many peak sun hours your area receives. Keep in mind, average daily peak sun hours arent merely the hours when the sun is in the sky. They are the hours when the sun delivers the most sustained exposure of sunlight, which means thats when your solar panels will be most productive.
Peak sun hours directly impact the number of solar panels you need. If you live in a place that receives a lot of sunlight, such as Arizona, a smaller solar power system might be all you need. You would need a bigger one to achieve the same amount of energy production if you live in an area with less sunlight available, such as Massachusetts.
For our example, we will use Arizona, which receives an average of 7.42 peak sun hours per day.
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Factors That Determine How Many Solar Panels You Need
You may think that the size of your house determines how many solar panels you need, but it doesnt! To really understand how many solar panels your solar energy system needs, you need to determine the following:
- Your energy usage: The more electricity you use, the more solar panels you need to cover your electricity costs
- Sunlight in your area: Homes in areas that receive less sunlight will need more solar panels to eliminate their electricity bills than those in sunnier states. As a rule of thumb, the southwestern United States gets the most sun in the country, while the northeast gets the least
- Panel wattage: The wattage of the solar panels you choose, also called the power rating, determines how much energy the panels will produce and most solar panels installed today have a power rating of about 320 watts per panel fewer panels are needed when you install panels with high wattage ratings
Below, solar expert Will White breaks down everything you need to know to figure out how many solar panels you need to power your home.