How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My Home
Its no use installing just one solar panelyoull need more than that to reap the financial benefits of a solar panel system. While the answer isnt always so simple, weve put together some example cases to help you understand, at a high level, how many solar panels you need to install an effective solar array.
How Big Are Solar Cells
Lately, manufacturers started to experiment with different individual solar cells sizes in order to reach higher solar panel efficiencies and performance.
Nowadays, the market is dominated by two solar cell sizes:
- 5 W x 5 L
- 6 W x 6 L
The 5 are mostly used by Sun Power in their 96-cells panels, making that panel to look like a common 60-cells one.
How Many Watts Can A 100 Amp Charge Controller Handle
As the current rating of solar chargers get higher, the output charging voltage increases, particularly with MPPT technology.
A good quality MPPT charge controller may have output settings of 12, 24, 36 and 48 volts. In each case the power being handled would be different:
100 amps x 12 volts = 1200 watts
100 amps x 24 volts = 2400 watts
100 amps x 36 volts = 3600 watts
100 amps x 48 volts = 4800 watts
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Solar Panels For Commercial Businesses
For businesses, solar panels might represent an environmental good or a financial strategy.
Whatever the reason could be, solar panels are a great move for all sizes of businesses.
Just as in residential cases, the size dimension of your system will be determined by the same factors listed in the how much power do I need section. And the size of solar panels for commercial businesses are just the same as the ones we mentioned above.
Nonetheless, since businesses require on average more power than homes, the typically used solar panel size in businesses is 72-cells size or more, like that of 96-cells.
The difference lies in the size of the solar panel array, given that the power demand for commercial businesses is higher than for residential use.
The figure below illustrates an approximation of that comparison.
An average home fits its energy needs with systems of around 6 kW or 7 kW. Businesses will require larger systems. In this case, expect to occupy a larger rooftop surface to cover your companys energy needs.
If you install a 6 kW system with, say, 20 average-sized solar panels, expect to occupy a surface of 27 ft. wide by 13 ft. long on your rooftop.
The table below shows a rough idea of the common size of solar panels for commercial businesses and the expected price range
Common system sizes for commercial businesses and expected price range.
Size Charge Controller For 300w Solar Panel
Lets say I bought one 300 watt panel to mount on the roof of an RV. This will help charge the 12 volt battery in the RV while off grid or boondocking.
First I choose a 300 watt solar panel. For the sake of this example, I will choose the following. Why? Because while searching for a single 300w panel, I noticed this one which is bendable. Might be ideal for an RV roof!
Okay, now lets check the important output specifications:
- Output voltage: 18V
- 300 / 18 volts = 17 amps
Now I know that I need a charge controller that can handle at least these input specifications.
But what about the charge controller output specs?
I already know one of them, the battery voltage. We will be charging a typical 12 volt deep cell battery. I happen to use the Trojan AGM-31. A typical battery of this particular type is rated for 100 AH . In other words, it is the battery energy capacity.
This capacity rating is often specified as the C20 rating. It is the energy a battery can deliver continuously for 20 hours at 80°F without falling below 10.5 volts.
In other words, a typical deep cell 12-volt battery that has a C20 rating of 100 AH, means that this battery can deliver 100 amp hours of energy over a 20 hour period.
Why do I say all this? Well, for one, its good to know! But secondly, a typical recommended charge rate for this battery is 20% of C20 during its bulk charge phase. How do I know this? I looked up the specs. on their website.
Other factors include:
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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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Where To Put All The Solar Panels
Its great that the Titan can handle so much power and could truly run a large RV A/C unit all day long. But where do all those panels go if they dont all fit on my roof? A solar panel stand or ground mount will be needed to expand to more panels effectively. Not everyone will need that many panels as previously discussed. But if you dont have enough room on the roof of the RV and you want to make more power theres got to be a better way than placing all the panels on the ground? There is!
A portable and easy to set up solar panel stand can be easily stored and carried in the RV in many places. This video shows exactly how the stand is made and how to do it very affordably.
Using flexible solar panels makes this very easy since they only weigh about 4 or 5 pounds each. The stand and panels are so light that the entire stand with the panels on it can be easily moved around during the day for more sun exposure. This is why its beneficial to get a complete Titan kit because the panels that are in the kits are the absolute highest quality available. Over 90% of solar panels on the market dont make anything close to what their advertised power production is.
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Other Ways To Charge Your Batteries
The ideal situation for your solar panels are to be stationary for a long period of time in direct sunlight. Your RV may have other sources of power already equipped.
Installed Generator: Most motorhomes have a built-in generator that can charge your batteries while you are using your electronic devices. The more devices that are using the generator, the less is going toward your batteries
Alternator: Newer motorhomes have a second alternator installed for the purpose of charging your house batteries. Older RVs may only have one, but the alternator charges both the engine and house battery banks.
Shore Power: When you are plugged into a campground or your homes grid, like your generator, it is charging your batteries while running your electrical devices.
The Size Of The Solar Panel System
An ideal solar panel system size is 10-20 square meters . Each panel segment with the average dimensions 1650 x 670 x 35mm usually produces around 0.5V.
Suppose youre planning to use solar power to charge your batteries or run small appliances in your home. In that case, a single 200-watt panel would be quite effective. To power larger loads, more panels can be connected together. The size of the panels directly impacts the amps produced by the system.
For a 12V battery, like our Editors Pick The Mighty Max, an ideal choice would be a solar panel with 36 segments for an 18-volt load. The key is to use a panel providing higher voltage than that of the battery to be charged.
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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My Rv
If youre fond of camping and prefer to go solar, firstly, you have to answer the question, how many solar panels do I need for my RV? There are different methods on how to compute your recreational vehicles power requirements. One of these methods is to go camping for a few days without utilizing your AC generator.
All you need to do is to point out how long it takes to run your recreational vehicle during normal usage by utilizing batteries only, without a generator. To learn more about the number of solar panels needed for your RV, continue reading the rest of this post.
Is 50 Amps Enough For An Rv
RV power consumption varies, but most are in the range of 30 to 50 amps. While 30 amps a day is still common, it makes more sense to switch to 50 amps.
50 amps can run a lot of appliances and devices. For an RV this is usually the amount consumed per day. With a 100ah lead acid battery and 50% discharge rate, you will get a lot of mileage out of it.
50 amps is equal to 600 watts, which is capable of running:
- Several LED bulbs
- 3 cup coffee maker, usually 400 to 500W
- 50 inch TV, about 100W
- Portable fan, which ranges from 50 to 100W
- Slow cooker from 70 to 100W
And you can probably run a lot more than these depending on your RV setup.
You consume 50 amps a day, so you decide to get a 100ah lead acid battery. 100ah is the right size because you can only use half of the capacity.
To recharge the battery you use 2 x 100W solar panels. Presuming typical weather conditions, each module produces 30 amps a day for 60 amps in total.
You can run appliances and devices on the two solar panels during the day. At night you still have 50ah left because the battery has not been used. That is 100ah available every day.
When morning comes and the battery is 50% empty, you can recharge it with the solar panels. You can still power your devices because there is still 50% left in the battery. As long as there is power coming in from the solar panels, you can keep going.
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Is It Dangerous To Have Too Many Rv Solar Panels
Each set of 500 watts is 106v and 6a. If 3 of them are put together the voltage is still 106 volts and the amperage would be 18 amps. With 3 sets of 500 watts it would be at 1,500 watts of power. The limit on the Titan is still not exceeded since my total volts is 106v and the total amps is 18a. This means I could easily put 1,500w of solar panels into each solar input port for a total of 3,000w and it would not hurt the Titan in any way. It will still only input 2,000 watts total even though the panels are making more than 2,000w total.
What this means is that the Titan can be easily and safely over paneled and it wont hurt it as long as its within the 35-145v and 30a limit. But it will guarantee that I can make 1,000w per solar input port. And since I can put a full 1,000w of solar into each input I can truly make 2,000w of power. Over-paneling will also increase how many hours a day I can get a full charge from my panels since there are more panels being exposed to sunlight during the day outside of prime solar production hours.
How Many Amps Does A 100 Watt Solar Panel Produce
As mentioned before, a 100W solar panels generates about 5.56A current. Depending on the intensity and the hours of direct sunlight received through the day, the panel generates between 20- and 30-amp hours throughout the day. But this does not mean a 30Ah and 12V battery should be sufficient. Why?
As batteries are not supposed to be discharged fully, doing so can damage the battery. Batteries can be discharged only up to 60% of their capacity, and up to 80% for a deep cycle battery. Hence, in our case of a 100W panel, a 50Ah, 12V battery is more suitable.
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The Principle To Size Mppt Solar Charge Controller
With the rapid technological advancements, there are various types of MPPT solar charge controllers. When choosing the right MPPT solar controller, we have to pay attention to 2 aspects: the current of the solar panel and the voltage of the solar panel.
Solar Panels Voltage
As per the Solar panels, we need to pay attention to the working voltage and short-circuit voltage. Working voltages normally are 18V, 36V and so on. If the working voltage is 18V, the short-circuit voltage of the solar panel should be 22V, similarly if 36V the short-circuit voltage should be 42V. We need to choose the right controller according to the working voltage of the solar panels. Usually, when you buy the solar panels, you will have all the parameters correspondingly.
Solar Panels Current
For Further information, Check this Guide of MPPT Solar Charge Controller
Can I Use Solar Power To Run The Air Conditioner
Technically, yes. Youll need a bigger battery bank, capable of holding at least 600 AH, to run a single AC unit for about four hours. Youll also need at least 1,200 watts of solar panels to recharge those batteries quickly and efficiently enough to bring your batteries up to charge to keep you powered through the evening. But because of how many watts a 15,000 BTU air conditioning unit consumes, it remains impractical to power it from battery. Nearly all RV boondockers still rely on a generator of at least 3,600 watts to run a single AC unit.
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Benefits Of A Solar Panel
Investing in RV solar panels and using it as a source of power for your recreational vehicle, carries with it plenty of benefits. Unlike a generator, a solar panel is beneficial because it does not come with any moving parts. In addition, it operates without noise or smell. It also requires the least amount of maintenance.
With that said, expect it to be cost-effective over time. Even better, with some patience, you can figure out how to tune your solar panel system to perfectly suits your needs. This will help you save time and money. You’ll know what the right solar panel system for you, even if what you need is only to keep a single battery charged. The video below might help.
You’ll also need to decide on your battery bank storage, so you can run all the appliances and conveniences that are part of your daily routine. Get enough battery storage that is at least twice the amount of power you use. Why? Your batteries will last longer. For more information see this article.
One more benefit of a solar energy is that it’s free. It makes use of the energy of the sun, which is free and does not require to spend on costly fuel.
Using An Easy Start Device
It is always a good idea to use an RV Easy Start Device installed in your RV. This connects to items such as air conditioners that have a really high surge when they turn on. Rather than the large surge hitting all at once it gradually pushes into it which makes it easier to start large items on smaller generators.
There are guides online on how to do it yourself which is the cheapest way to have them installed. With these kinds of things, I generally prefer to pay a shop to have it installed since it doesnt cost very much to do so. It also makes sure that its installed properly.
Using an A/C easy start device makes it so that smaller A/C units such as 8,000 BTU units can be run off of smaller gas or solar generators like the Bluetti or Yeti. Its important to remember that this will not lower the continuous running watts of the A/C. It only helps with the initial surge.
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What Solar Panels Should I Get
The best solar panels to use on your Titan solar generator or other solar generator depends on your needs. It is typically recommended that if you need to set up panels on an as needed basis, then the flexible solar panels are a good option because they are lightweight and easy to move. If solar panels are going to be permanently mounted, then it is recommended to go with rigid frame solar panels. The RV Titan solar generators kits have both options of flexible and rigid panels to suit each person and their situation.
100-watt solar panels are most often recommended. A single 200-watt solar panel takes up almost the exact same amount of space as two 100-watt solar panels. Essentially no space is saved by using a larger wattage solar panel. What is increased is the weight and its ability to fly away in the wind, both are not good. This is why I recommend the 100-watt solar panels. The 100-watt solar panels are light enough to manage very easily and wont fly out of hands or off the roof as easily as the larger solar panels. It is always important to use high-quality solar panel mounting brackets that are properly secured.