What are your goals for going solar? Do you want to be independent from the electricity company? There are several reasons why one would want to switch to solar. Apart from reducing your electricity bills, there are other reasons, such as reducing your carbon footprint. One way to maximize this decision is by determining the number of solar panels needed to sustain your home or business.
To answer this question, you should know your household’s energy consumption. This article will look at how you can figure out the number of solar panels that you will need.
The Number of Solar Panels You Need for Your Home
Once you have chosen solar, it is good for you to do it right. Typically, a homeowner requires about 28-34 solar panels. To reach this figure, you can use low and high panel production ratio for calculating the number of solar panels needed. You can look at the following aspects to determine the number of solar panels you will need.
How Many Watts Do You Need?
The best guide here is your electricity bill. You can look at the kilowatt-hours (or kWh) and the time used. It is usually 30 days. If you receive a bill without the kilowatt-hours used, you can look at the meter reading and minus the previous reading.
Generally, you want hourly and daily use for your calculations. If your bill does not indicate the daily average, you can divide the annual or monthly by 365 or 30 days. Then, divide the outcome by 24, which will determine your hourly usage rate, and the answer will be in kilowatt-hours. Currently, an average home in the United States uses about 900kWh.
When calculating your solar needs, you should use the average daily energy consumption. That is the number of kilowatt-hours production needed from the solar panels to cover all your uses.
When making the calculations, it is essential to remember that some factors can prevent the panels’ maximum efficiency. Such factors include unfavorable weather. To cushion your home from such eventualities, experts advise that you add a 25%.
Sunlight Hours in Your Area
The sunlight hours in your region has a direct impact on the energy harnessed from the sun. For example, if your house is in Phoenix, you have more hours of sunlight than a person in Seattle. When you compare the number of panels needed in those locations, the one in Seattle would have more PV modules. For such data, you can access the Renewable Resource Data Center website. They give you solar data for each state.
You can multiply your hourly usage by 1000, converting it to the number of watts you require. Once you do so, you can divide the figure by the expected peak sunlight hours. The number gives you the amount of sunlight the panels should produce each hour.
For example, an average US home consuming 900 kWh per month and located in a place with 5 peak sunlight hours requires 6,250 watts.
Solar Panels' Efficiency
Here, the quality of the panels matter. Solar panels are different—the photovoltaic (PV) modules range between 150 to 370 watts. The efficiency, cell technology, and size of the modules determine the wattage.
The variations in the technology, quality, and efficiency, makes it impossible to make generalizations on which panels will be ideal for you. The most crucial thing to remember is if a solar panel has high efficiency and more wattage production, you will need fewer of those on the roof.
You can refer to the previous point on the number of watts you need to determine the best panels for your house. An average home in Dallas using 250 watts solar panels would need about 25 of them. If they use 350W panels, they will require about 17 of them.
The Size of Solar Panels Vs. Your Roof Space
The number and size of solar panels are vital considerations when you have a small or oddly shaped roof. If you have a large roof area, you may be at liberty to choose large panels at a lower cost.
However, if you have a small roof, your options become a bit limited. In that case, smaller, fewer panels with high efficiency are the best option. The same still applies if a large part of your roof is unusable due to shading or other factors.
Did you know that typical solar panel measurements are 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet or 65 inches by 39 inches? However, they may vary from one manufacturer to another.
Will You Connect to the Grid?
If your solar system is connected to the grid, you can still access power when solar energy production is low. If you are in a state that allows net metering, you can benefit from the credits you generate when you have excess production. However, if you are off the grid, you need to ensure the solar panels generate enough energy to power your house.
You can gain a general idea of the number of solar panels needed for your home when you do a few calculations. First, you need to determine the average power consumption for your home. You can look at your utility bill to get an accurate figure. Secondly, you need to look at the wattage of the solar panels you want to use and multiply it by the average peak sunlight hours in your region.
Once you have those figures, you can divide your average consumption with the solar energy output to determine the number of panels required. Remember, shopping for solar panels will need a lot of research. Since this is a long term investment, you can compare as many options as possible to get value for your money. You may need to hire a solar installer to assess your home and give you an accurate figure.
Dynamic SLR would be the right place to start your solar installation journey. We not only offer quality solar products, but we also have professional installers who understand the dynamics of your neighborhood. Contact us today and go solar before the scrapping of the incentives from the federal government.