Determining how many solar panels to power a home can be quite tricky for a number of reasons. It all starts with pinpointing what your immediate goals are. For instance, are you in a quest to save as much money as possible by totally reducing your energy bills? Or perhaps, after minimizing your carbon footprint, in order to conserve the environment. Whatever the case, investing in a quality solar power system is certainly a safe bet, if your main goals are to save on cash while minimizing the impact on the environment.
In order to determine the exact number of solar panels needed to power your property, you’ll first have to calculate just how much energy your household consumes, prior to checking the climatic conditions and peak sunlight in the region, your roof’s surface area and the wattage. In short, it is a combination of factors that will ultimately determine how many panels you actually need. That said, here are the main considerations to look out for.
How Many Solar Panels to Power a Home are Needed?
The target daily average:
Before investing in a solar power system for your property, it’s worth noting that the panels usually don’t operate at maximum efficiency throughout. This can be attributed to a number of factors such as the region’s weather conditions and expected hardware issues. With this in mind, it would therefore be in your best interest to add a 25% “cushion” on top of your daily target average, so as to cover for such inefficiencies.
Household energy needs:
The solar power system you install should be able to meet all your household energy needs, meaning you’ll have to go through your past electricity bills and check for the daily average usage. What you want to find out is the average daily usage and if the electricity bills don’t indicate this, simply divide the monthly usage by 30 or 31 days to get your answer in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
The average hours of sunlight in your area:
It is common sense that the peak sunlight hours in your region will solely determine just how much energy your system can produce. For instance, those living in Southern California can expect to have a greater amount of peak sunlight hours compared to homeowners living in Seattle. With this example, it is safe to say that the latter homeowner with few peak sunlight hours will have to invest in more solar panels to enjoy sufficient solar energy production compared to his/her California counterpart. If you are wondering how you can determine the peak sunlight hours in your region, fret not. The Renewable Resource Data Center provides all info you need by state.
Target hourly wattage:
Before delving on the nitty-gritty, it’s important to state that the target hourly wattage produced will ultimately be pegged to the quality of panels in your comprehensive system. What most homeowners fail to realize is there is a great variation in solar panel performance and capabilities. In a nutshell, there are premium panels and mediocre panels similar to all other products in other niches. PV solar panels are ranked as the most popular in residential solar installations and they come in wattages ranging from 150 watts all the way up to 345 watts per panel – depending on the cell technology adopted and panel size. Once you have divided your property’s hourly energy requirement by a panel’s wattage, you can then calculate the number of solar panels you need for your home.
In a nutshell, the above factors should give you a rough estimate of the number of panels you need to power your home. All you’ll have to do next is hire a professional solar power system installer to assess the property’s roof architecture, its direct angle to the sun and other complex factors required to make the comprehensive system formidable. If you are just getting started on a solar power system, it is advisable to visit a professional installer so as to get a quote and overview of what exactly it takes to power your home with a renewable source. Do your research carefully and always remember that the more quotes you get, the merrier. Consider both large and small companies to get the best price.