Did you know that an average American home uses about 886 kWh of energy per month? Many homeowners are buying solar panels to help meet these monthly energy needs.
However, there are many factors when it comes to how many solar panels you might need. Do you know how to choose the correct amount of home solar panels to keep your lights on and appliances running?
The following guide will explain the number of panels necessary for your specific home solar system. Read on before purchasing solar panel options and don’t get left in the dark!
Current Energy Usage
First, take a look at your most recent electricity bill to get an idea of your average energy usage. Scan the bill for something that explains kilowatt hours or kWh used for that particular month and previous months.
If you can’t find the kilowatt hours used on the bill, find the starting and ending readings from your meter. Then, subtract the last month’s reading from your most recent reading.
You’ll also want to know how much energy you use each day and each hour. If your energy bill doesn’t get that detailed, simply divide the monthly reading by 30 for days and then divide that by 24 for hours.
Energy needs vary greatly from one home to the next. For example, a smaller house in a mild climate might only use around 200 kWh or so each month. On the other hand, a large house in the south running air conditioning might use over 2,000 kWh
Find your daily kWh average to get the best idea of how many panels you’ll need and the cost. Doing so ensures that your solar power system can easily meet your overall energy needs.
Note that solar panels shouldn’t work at full efficiency all day. So, add an extra 25 percent to your daily average before buying panels. You can go to this site for information about solar panel costs. For reference, the average home needs between 17 to 21 panels.
Hours Of Sunlight
The amount of energy your solar system produces largely depends on the peak sunlight hours for your home’s location. For instance, homeowners in Arizona can expect more peak sunlight hours than homeowners living in Oregon.
However, that doesn’t mean that homes in the Northwest can’t use solar power. It just means that homes in locations with less sunlight require more panels.
After finding your home’s hourly kWh usage, multiply it by 1,000 to determine your energy needs to watts. Then, divide your average wattage used each hour by the number of hours your location gets the most sunlight.
Now you’re left with the amount of energy your solar panels must produce every hour for your home and location. For example, if your home needs 900 kWh per month with five hours of daily peak sunlight, you’d need 6,000 watts.
Solar panel quality makes a huge difference when it comes to overall efficiency. You should know that Photovoltaic solar panels are the most common type used for home installations.
Each PV panel creates about 150 watts to 370 watts depending on its size and quality. Efficiency gets determined by how well a solar converts sunlight into power and the technology used for its cells.
For example, panels that use solar cells without grid lines soak up more sunlight than traditional solar cells. They’re also not as affected by common problems like peeling, cracking, and corrosion.
Some panel features such as microinverters help maximize power conversion from the start. In comparison, systems that use a single inverter on each end of the house won’t be as efficient.
The best way to determine what kind of panels you need and how many is to have a professional installer evaluate your home. Consider your budget but also realize that panel quality is important so try to avoid going the cheapest route if possible.
Panel Size And Weight
Roofs that are smaller or have unique shapes might require different panel amounts and sizes. If you have a large roof, you might be able to give up some efficiency for bigger panels to save some money.
Your roof might not have a lot of usable space or have partially shaded areas. In this case, consider smaller panels with higher efficiency to get the output you need.
Standard solar panels made for homes usually have dimensions of around 65 inches by 39 inches. Dimensions tend to vary slightly depending on the manufacturer, but panel sizes have stayed about the same for 10 years now.
Keep in mind that most residential panels weigh about 40 pounds each. It’s important to determine if your type of roof can support the weight of all the panels you need. You might need to spend more on smaller, more efficient panels to safely install your system.
Consider the material your roof is made of, its age, and the structure before purchasing panels. If your home can’t support the weight of rooftop panels, you can always go with ground-mounted solar panels instead if you have room for them.
Knowing How Many Solar Panels To Buy
Now you can figure out how many solar panels to buy for your home with a few easy calculations. You also know what other factors to consider such as weather and the condition of your roof. Remember, there are solar panel options for just about any home type.
We hope this guide helps you find the perfect amount of panels necessary for your energy needs and budget alike. Check out our site’s technology section for more helpful solar energy tips.