Once you have decided to invest in a solar energy system, you’ll need to think about how many solar panels will be required to power your home. You might think that you will need to cover your whole roof with solar panels, but that is not necessarily always the case. In some cases, only a few solar panels can efficiently power a home or business. Sometimes the best way to power your home with solar panels and save money on your electric bill is not by installing a lot of panels, but by installing panels that are top-rated for efficiency and reliability.
Average Solar Panel System Requirements
The average homeowner will need approximately 28-34 solar panels to cover 100% of their energy usage. This number is based on a household consuming the average of 10,400 kilowatts per year and installing 2,500-watt solar panels. But this is just an average; the best way to know how many solar panels you will need for your home or business is by doing a few calculations, as well as by comparing the efficiency of solar panels from different companies.
How Much Energy You Currently Use
The number of panels that you will need depends on multiple factors such as location, panel performance, and energy consumption. The first thing you need to do is calculate your energy consumption. When estimating the specific number of solar panels that you need, look at how many kilowatt hours (or kWh) of electricity you use in a year. You can normally find this information on your monthly electric bill. You should also look at the breakdown of daily and hourly usage for further calculations.
If daily and hourly rates are not provided on your bill, you can figure this information out by dividing the monthly or annual average by 30 or 365 days, and then divide again by 24 to determine your hourly average electricity usage in kWh. Your average daily energy usage is your target daily average for calculating your solar needs. That’s the number of kilowatt hours you need your solar system to produce if you want to cover 100% of your energy needs. The average U.S. home uses about 900 kWh per month. So that’s 30 kWh per day or 1.25 kWh per hour.
How Many Solar Panels You Will Need
After finding out your hourly and daily usage, the next step is to determine how much solar power you will need. You will need to find out how many daily peak sunlight hours you get in your area by looking up this information for your specific state. The more sunlight you get, the fewer panels you will need, and vice versa. To calculate how many solar panels you need:
- Divide your household’s daily energy requirement by the peak sunlight hours for your area. This will give you the number of kW your solar energy system will need to provide.
- Next, multiply that number by 1,000 to convert it into watts.
- Lastly, divide the number of watts needed by the number of watts one solar panel generates. This will tell you how many panels you need to power your home.
The average U.S. home that uses 900 kWh/month in an area that gets 5 peak sunlight hours per day would need approximately 6,000 watts. This broken down by the formula above is:
- 30 kWh/5 = 6 kW
- 6 x1,000 = 6,000 watts
- 6,000 would then be divided by how many watts one solar panel generates to figure out the number of panels needed
Not All Solar Panels Are The Same
Solar panel quality differs by manufacturer, and is determined by the size and efficiency of the panel. Once you have done your research and chosen which type of panel is right for your home, you can figure out how many of them you will need for your roof. To figure out how many panels you will need, divide the hourly wattage requirement of your home by the solar panel’s wattage as calculated above.
Note that weather conditions can temporarily reduce your system’s efficiency. Therefore, experts recommend adding a 25% “cushion” to your daily average to make sure that you will have enough panels to generate all the energy you need.
These calculations can seem quite confusing, which is why your best bet is to speak with a Go Solar Energy agent. Our agents are highly trained and can do all the calculations, as well as compare the size, efficiency rating, and quality of each solar panel in minutes. Go Solar Energy works with the top-rated solar companies in the country, so we can compare all the panels that are available in your area. Our agents will work with you to calculate your energy consumption and needs; we will also explain how it all works, so that you can maximize your return on investment.
We want to make sure you are fully informed and not confused, so that you can make the best decision for your home or business, and your wallet. We will guide you through the process, for free. To get started, enter your zip code on our homepage, or to speak directly with an agent, call 888-290-3112 .