For many homeowners, the main reasons for going solar are to save money and reduce your environmental footprint. So, how many solar panels do you need for maximum savings and minimum environmental impact? The exact number of solar panels you need for an efficient solar energy system depends on several factors. These include:
- Your household’s energy needs
- The weather conditions in your area (how much sunlight do you get?)
- Amount of usable surface area on your roof
- The efficiency of the solar panels you are considering
Determine Your Home's Average Power Needs
How much energy does your home need? Answering this question can help you make a tentative guess vis-à-vis the number of solar panels you need. An easy way to determine your home’s energy needs is to look at past electric bills. Start by calculating your home’s hourly energy consumption and multiply that figure by the peak sunlight hours for your area to get your home’s daily solar power needs.
Next, divide the daily solar power consumption in your household by the wattage of the specific solar panels you are considering. This will give you a ballpark figure on how many solar panels you need for your home’s PV system. If you work with Go Solar Power, our solar professionals will happily do all the calculations for you.
Here are a few additional tips to help you get an idea of how many solar panels you need for your home.
Breaking Down Your Daily and Hourly Energy Use
You can find all the information about the power usage in your household on past electric bills. Usage will be in Kilowatt Hours (or kWh) for a specified period, usually 30 days. What you need, though, is your hourly consumption. To get the average daily power consumption in your home, divide the monthly average by 30.
Divide your monthly by 24 to get your hourly average electricity usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This figure represents your solar energy system’s daily target, which will allow you to calculate the number of panels you need.
How Much Sunlight Does Your Home Get?
The number of peak sunlight hours in your area will have a direct impact on the amount of energy your PV system generates. Peak sunlight hours vary from place to place. If your area receives only a few hours of sunlight per day, you’ll need more solar panels. Divide your hourly consumption (Watts) by daily peak sunlight hours to get the amount of energy your system needs to produce every hour.
Use the Panels' Wattage to Calculate the Total Number of Panels You Need
The wattage of a residential solar panel ranges from 150 watts to 370 watts. To calculate the total number of panels you need, divide your home’s hourly wattage requirement by the panels’ wattage. Keep in mind that the quality and efficiency of solar panels vary significantly from one company to the next, which makes it extremely difficult to calculate exactly how many panels you’ll need to install in your home.
Factor in the Size of Your Roof
Don’t forget to factor in the size of your roof when estimating the number of solar panels you need for your home’s PV system. The efficiency of a solar panel determines how well it converts sunlight to energy. For smaller, oddly shaped roofs, you’ll need to go with smaller, more efficient solar panels if you want to meet your home’s solar energy needs.
Putting all these factors into consideration will help you determine the ideal number of solar panels for your home. If you’re considering installing solar panels in your home, Go Solar Power professionals can give you a free evaluation of your home’s solar power system.