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:
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need Main Factors To Consider
When it comes to calculating how many solar panels one needs, there are quite many factors that the person must consider before coming to a definitive conclusion. Furthermore, you must also decide what your primary objective behind going solar is.
Do you only wish to reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible? Do you want to become partially self-sufficient for your energy needs? Or do you want to eliminate your reliance on your utility completely are some of the questions you will have to ask yourself?
In this article, we will be focusing on a homeowner intending to install a solar panel system capable enough to accommodate their entire energy needs so as to eliminate their reliance on their utility for energy.
In order to calculate how many solar panels you need, you need to have the following information:
- How much energy do you use on average
- The physical size of the solar panels youre considering
- What is the climate like in your area, and how many hours of the sun do you get
- The efficiency of the solar panels youre considering
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For 1000 Kwh Per Month
First an foremost, its important that you understand that the answer to this question depends entirely on where you live and what sort of power rating your solar panels will be.
Anyone who gives you an answer without this information is, well, giving you inaccurate information.
This is why we are going to teach you how to figure out how many solar panels your own home will need, assuming you consume 1000kWh of electricity each month.
This formula right here, is going to be your golden ticket to figuring out how many solar panels your household needs.
It is going to allow you to budget accordingly, so pay close attention to the next few paragraphs where we teach you how to use it.
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How To Use A Calculator To Calculate How Many Solar Panels You Need
Our solar calculator can estimate the number of panels needed for your home. The tool works by taking your average monthly energy usage in kilowatt hours .
- Calculators that use kilowatt hours are more accurate because they consider your exact energy needs
- Those that ask for home area must assume the electricity consumption
Each electric company has a different power bill format, but they all display your electricity consumption for the billing period. The exact description will vary, but you should look for a term such as kWh used or kWh consumed.
Solar calculators also ask for your home location to determine how much sunshine is available. Based on those two values, they can estimate the system size in kilowatts. Some solar calculators assume a wattage for panels, while others ask you directly. Based on the total kilowatts and the rated watts per panel, the calculator can determine how many are needed.
It is important to understand the difference between kWh savings and dollar savings. kWh savings refer to the amount of energy that your panels produce. On the other hand, dollar savings are obtained when the solar electricity production is multiplied by the kWh price.
How Many Kwh Can Your Solar Panels Produce The Complexities Of Production Ratios
The amount of power your solar energy system can produce depends on how much sunlight exposure your roof receives, which in turn creates your production ratio. The amount of sunlight you get in a year depends on both where you are in the country, and what time of year it is. For instance, California has more sunny days annually than New England. But in either location, youll be able to produce enough power to cover your energy needs and say goodbye to your utility billsif you live in an area that gets less peak sunlight hours, youll just need to have a larger solar array system installed at your home. Thus, production ratios differ according to geographic location and a lower production ratio means youll need more solar panels to get the amount of energy production you need.
Read Also: Do Solar Panels Have To Go On The Roof
Determine The Amount Of Energy You Need To Generate
After you settle on the goal of your system itâs time to calculate the number of kilowatt-hours it needs to generate to meet your expectations.
If the system is for your existing home you can refer back to past utility bills to see the amount of power you use in an average month. You can also use our solar calculator to pull your historical energy consumption.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the average US home uses about 900 kWh of electricity per month.
900 kwh X 12 months = 10,800 kWh
This number is the system size you will need to meet your goals.
System size = Avg. kWh / month x 12 months
If your solar array is only going to be used as a backup, itâs probably a good idea to think about how much energy you need to charge a solar battery and how much energy you need to run essential items.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need
- Team Nexamp
As more homes throughout the country consider installing solar panels, one question commonly asked is, how many solar panels do I need?. Well, it depends there are a few factors that go into determining how many solar panels you would need to power your home or business home energy usage, roof or property surface area, orientation of your roof and geographic location. In this piece, well break it down for you.
How much solar energy do I need?
When determining how much solar energy you need your homes average energy usage is the first thing to look at. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2019, the average electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,649 kWh. Thats an average of about 877 kWh per month. To understand your own usage, a good rule of thumb is to look back at your total energy consumption from the last twelve months on your utility bills. Most utility bills provide this information. Divide that number by 12 and you have a great estimate of what youll need your solar panels to generate each month.
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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Power A 4 Bed House
The average size of a US home with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms is 1700 square feet. In the last section I worked out that solar output needed with average irradiance of 5.3 peak sun hours per day is 3.17 watts per square foot.
Solar calculation for 4 bed home:
1700 square foot x 3.17 = 5389 solar output in watts
If 300 watt solar panels are used, then the number of panels needed is found by:
5389 watts / 300 watts = 18 solar panels
Hours Of Sunshine Versus Hours Of Consumption
The hours around the middle of the day, when there is greater light intensity, are the hours when more energy is produced by your solar panels. If those hours coincide with the hours where you make the highest consumption of electricity, you will get the most out of your installation.
However, if you need to consume more energy at another time of day, a traditional panel system may not be as cost-effective. In this case, there are two solutions:
In single-family homes, it is generally advisable to take advantage of this compensation mechanism to make the most of energy production from solar panels.
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Your Panel Build Quality And Durability
As we have already stated, purchasing a solar panel system should be a one-time outlay assuming you get everything right the first time. This is where the quality of your panels really comes into play. It is not just about the number of panels you will need in the short term but also the number of panels that you might need to replace in the long term that matters too.
In order to ensure that your panels are going to be able to withstand harsh weather conditions while maintaining their efficiency, always aim to be certain that they feature a solid metal frame and a waterproof rating of IP65.
Always be sure that the included brackets and mounts are made out of solid, hard-wearing metal too. This will massively amplify your chances of never having to purchase more panels after your initial install provided you have them serviced regularly.
Is Your Roof Suitable For Solar Panels
Itâs one thing to know how many solar panels you might need to power your home with free renewable solar energy but your roof will need to be suitable for solar panels.
On the plus side, most UK homes are perfectly suitable for solar panels but there are a few considerations to make in order to get the most out of them:
- A south facing roof will deliver optimal generation
- Free from shading
- Roof pitch of 30-40 degrees
- Whether thereâs enough space
Find out more in Is My Roof Suitable for Solar Panels?
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Calculate The Roofs Usable Area And Type Of Panel Required
The roof size available for setting up the solar panel would need to be ascertained in square feet. Orientation plays an important role, especially if the roof size is small or not of a usable geometric shape.
The size available needs to be divided by the size of the solar panel that is going to be used. If the number of panels is too few due to the size of the roof then one needs to look at the wattage output. Possibly each solar panel will be uniform in size so then you’ll select the panel for its efficiency.
There are various kinds of solar panels available but the differentiating factors among them are the size, wattage, and efficiency of the panel.
Panel efficiency is the ability of the panel to convert sunlight into energy and is a key factor of the cell technology. Panel type will need to be taken into account as a factor to calculate a solar energy system output.
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.
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Where Do I Get A Quote
You can start looking for quotes from solar contractors by reaching out to your local library or utility company, who may have lists of companies you can contact. You might be surprised at how many different types of people are in the industry! Theres also an app that lets you compare prices from multiple installations in your area.
Can You Run A Washing Machine On Solar Power
Some washing machines are actually designed with a solar kit installed and can be hooked up to your system. Theres also the option of installing an outdoor clothesline for drying laundry between cycles or using a dryer that runs on electricity generated by renewable sources like solar power. A third option is running off-the-grid where you use battery storage to capture the power generated by your panels, so that you can use it anytime.
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Research Your Utility Companys Policy On Solar
Does your utility company have a net energy metering program? Most utility companies have net energy metering policies, where utilities have to credit owners of a home solar energy system for the excess energy they produce. Without a Net Energy Metering program, you wont get paid for any extra solar power you generate. In California, the net energy metering means that any kWh of energy your homes solar panels generate over your households utility demands gets credited back to you in equal measure. Please note, the amount you get credited isnt very significant. Most utility companies will pay in the range of .04-.12 cents per kilowatt-hour. However, if you undersize your system, you may be paying a range of .22-.48 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Pro Question: How much will your utility company allow you to oversize your system? Utility companies will limit how large you can build your solar energy system. Some utilities will allow you to oversize your system to 150%, while others will only allow 100%.
Our Top 3 Space Saving High Output Solar Panels
To take away some of the headache from answering the questions about how much solar panels do I need and how many solar panels do I need, we have compiled a list of our top three favorite solar panels for reducing space while maximizing your energy capacity.
Here are the reasons why high-output panels are a great option.
- High-output panels mean that you can use less panels in order to achieve your desired energy output.
- Using high-output panels to create your solar panel system can actually save you money as opposed to buying a higher volume of individual low power panels.
- If you have limited space, then using high-output panels is going to be the only way that you are able to meet your household energy requirements.
Here are our three favorite high-output solar panels.
Factor : Solar Panel Wattage Actual Power Production Per Panel
Different panels produce different amounts of power. And this is why answering the question of how many solar panels a particular house, business, or farm will need cant be answered for everyone all at once.
Solar panels on the market today range from 45 Watts to 315 Watts. That number is the amount of power that a specific panel produces. So, to power the same 6 kW system, youd need a lot more 45-W panels than you would 315-W panels. Get the idea?
When you go solar panel shopping, you want to already know the size of system you want, using the process weve given here. Because then you can say to the installer, Give me quotes for an X-kW sized solar array.
Task 7: Get a solar quote for your ideal system size.
If you have a small roof, youll probably want higher-wattage panels because you dont have the space for tons of them. But, higher-wattage panels cost more. However, youll need fewer of them than you would less productive panels.
So how many solar panels will I need?!!?
Task 8: Find the number of panels for the wattage youre considering.
Take your system size number , and follow this simple process:
- Multiply it by 1000
- Divide #1 by #2
Our example continues: A 6 kW system is a 6000 W system. If I want to buy 300-W solar panels, then 6000 / 300 = 20 solar panels. So to install a 6 kW solar array, which will produce 1000 kWh per month in 5.5 hours of direct sunlight, will require me to buy twenty 300 Watt solar panels.
Task 3: Set a solar power production goal.
How Much Solar Power Do I Need
As mentioned above, if you know the amount of sunlight energy that is available to you, and the amount of energy that you need to offset , you can estimate the size of the system that you need:
Rated Power = Energy Production per day ÷ Peak Sun Hours/day
Or you can use this formula for your monthly energy production:
Rated Power = Monthly Energy Consumption ÷
To make things even easier, Ive made the following calculator.
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What Solar Incentives Or Solar Rebates Are Available
There are many different tax incentives, subsidies and financing and billing solutions at the state and local levels that can make going solar more affordable. To see if you might be eligible for renewable energy incentive programs, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency .
If you purchase your solar system, you may qualify for the 26% federal tax credit .* The full solar ITC is available to home solar owners through 2022. It drops to a 22% credit in 2023 and is scheduled to go away completely in 2024, so dont put off buying solar for too long.
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