One of the biggest questions that any homeowner looking to buy a solar system is how many solar panels they will need. This is a tricky question since different households have different energy consumption rates and needs. The amount of sun you get and how efficient each solar panel in your system is another big deciding factor. The biggest things to consider are your location, how much energy you use now, and whether you will buy anything that might draw energy, and how much of your electric bill you’re looking to eliminate.
How do I decide how much power I should generate?
If you want to eliminate your electrical bill, then you need to look up how many kiloWatt hours you use. This should be on your bill. So long as you haven’t added any major appliances like a fridge or air-conditioner, or other power-hungry items like a heated pool or outdoor hot tub, this number should be accurate as to what your household uses. Once you have this number, you need to make sure your solar panel system will generate at least that much in a year. Milford solar panels said on their website that The average household consumes about 10.400 kWh a year. Different companies want different measurements of your power consumption, so make sure you know how much you use in an hour, day, month, and year so you don’t need to re-calculate when you get a quote from a different company.
How does my location affect my solar panel needs?
Your weather and how much sun you get will affect how efficient your solar panels are. Someone living in the sunny Southwest will need fewer panels to get the same amount of generated power than someone who lives in New England. Because of this, your solar panel array size will change. Look up what you can expect for your area. If any of your neighbors already have solar panels, be sure to ask them what they are getting. This can help you judge what you need for your own system.
Also, if you live in a very hot or cold climate, you will draw more power heating or cooling your home. Make sure you consider this when you decide on what size of system you need.
How much sun do I need?
The more hours of sunlight you have, the more your system will produce. Someone in a sunny city like Phoenix, Arizona, might get a few more hours of sun than someone living in Buffalo, New York. On average, figure about 4 hours of sunlight a day. You can still use solar panels no matter your location, you just need more of them to reach the same power generation. Remember, Germany produces more solar power than all of the United States, even though they have a colder, rainier climate than much of the United States.
On the market right now, you can find solar panels with different efficiency ratings. You’ll need fewer of a high-efficiency solar panel to get the same amount of power generated as a lower-efficiency model. This is important when you consider how much space you have for solar panels. Panel efficiency also won’t always be at the maximum since poor weather will reduce the amount of power your solar panels will generate.
How much space do I need?
This will heavily depend on how many solar panels you need and the equipment you get. Your roof shape and size will determine how many panels you can fit. A simple, flat roof will hold more panels than a more complex shape. You may not be able to fit a system that will cover all your power needs if you have a smaller roof space.
So how many panels do I need?
Assuming you go for a medium efficiency model of solar panel and have average power consumption, you need around 30 solar panels to take care of your energy needs completely. You can go less if you only want to reduce your bill, you can go with fewer panels. Remember to put in a buffer of about 25% since solar panels don’t always operate at maximum efficiency. If you live in a cloudier climate, you will see fewer days at 100% efficiency. Check online calculators to help you learn what you will need for your area and power generation goals.