As a homeowner looking to convert to solar energy, it’s important to understand exactly how many solar panels you need. Plus how much space you may need in order to power your home. Without spending too much money on unnecessary panels.
Finding that sweet spot of the exact amount your home needs takes into consideration many factors. Including how much energy you need, the direction your roof is facing, the average amount of sunlight in your area, and how much energy your chosen panels can produce.
Finding the Perfect Number of Solar Panels
On average, a typical American homeowner needs 14-36 solar panels to cover their energy bill every month. These panels can take at least 227 square feet of your rooftop in order to accommodate the necessary space.
Obviously, this leaves a large amount of wiggle room in terms of your home’s energy needs. In order to break it down a little further. It’s important to take a look at your electrical bill. You can determine exactly how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you’re using in a typical month. Once you know this, you can take a look at what you’re purchasing. See exactly how many kilowatts (kW) they can absorb and then produce. This information will be key in determining how many solar panels (and thus, how much space) you need.
Factors to Consider
There are four determining factors to consider when deciding how many solar panels you need.
The average amount of sunlight in your area. There’s a large difference in average sunlight hours in Boca Raton versus Atlanta, for instance.
The amount of energy the system you’re purchasing can produce.
The direction your roof is facing. This can be a determining factor in how much sunlight per day these system will be receiving.
The amount of energy your home uses. As mentioned, this can be found on your most recent electric bills, and is measured in kWh.
Once you’ve collected the data for these four factors, and with weather conditions and average sunlight in mind. You can start to get a better picture of how many solar panels your home needs.
Calculating Your Solar Needs
Let’s take a look at an example of an average home energy use. See how that relates to solar panels.
Without taking geographical factors into account, a home that produces 8,300 kWh using a 7 kW solar system in a decently sunny location would need roughly 25 solar panels in order to offset the home’s energy consumption.
For a home in a similar locale that uses much more energy, a 14,000 kWh usage, with a 10 kW solar system, they would need more solar panels and be on the higher side of average with 36 solar panels.
Translating Solar Panels to Roof Space
Understanding the roof space you need to adequately equip your solar panels can vary on a number of factors as well. One of the main factors is whether you’re using low, medium, or high efficiency panels for your home. These three measures calculate how good your solar panels are at absorbing and converting solar energy. With higher efficiency panels, you’ll need less of them to power your home. Lower efficiency panels can be more cost-efficient but you may need to purchase more and therefore have more roof space.
As an example, if you had a 10 kw solar system with low efficiency solar panels, you’d need roughly 625 square footage of roof space. Upgrading to high efficiency panels will cut that down to 455 square footage. For those with less roof space available, high efficiency panels may be the best option.
Determining Your Needs
These calculations and determining factors can play a huge role in understanding how many solar panels your home needs, but ultimately it’s a great idea to consult with the experts. The Go Solar team of Solar Specialists can help determine the exact amount of solar panels, as well as square footage, you need to meet the energy needs of your home. Contact them today to find out more and start your solar power journey!