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Solar Panel System Size: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

How many solar panels do you need to power up your home?

It’s a common question for homeowners who are looking to go solar. Probably the most significant factor deciding the cost of your solar panel system is the number of panels you’ll need. While it’s the best time to go solar since solar panel cost has gone down thanks to various incentives, it’s still a considerable investment.

You may think that only the size of your house matters, but it’s not the only deciding element. To have an accurate idea of how many solar panels you need, you must look at your energy usage, geographical location, and other factors.

Keep reading to learn more about how to determine the number of solar panels you need for your home.

How Much Electricity Do You Use Currently?

The first step is figuring out your household’s average energy usage. You can do this by looking at recent electricity bills, which should have the Kilowatt Hours (kWh) used for a specific period (usually 30 days).

You want the daily kW electricity usage, so divide your monthly average by 30. The answer will be in kWh per day. For reference, the average US home uses about 900 kWh in a month, so that’s about 30 kWh per day.

How Much Sun Does a Solar Panel System Receive in Your Area?

Your geographic location determines your peak sunlight hours. As you can see from this US solar irradiance map, states in the southwest typically receive more sun than other states. While it doesn’t mean that a New York homeowner can’t go solar, they would probably require more panels than if they lived in Arizona.

You want to know how much energy your panels need to produce during peak hours to sustain the electricity demands of your household. To come up with that number, divide your daily kWh usage by the peak sunlight hours. The answer will be in kW, but you want it in watts, so multiply it again by 1000.

Solar Panel Output

The solar panel output is the panel’s power rating or wattage, expressed in Watts (W). It’s how much electricity it generates under ideal conditions, i.e., during peak sunlight hours. It ranges from 250 to 400 W per panel, depending on the quality of the panels (ask your solar installer to discover more about solar panel output).

Calculate the Number of Solar Panels You Need

You can now determine how many panels you need for solar panel installation. Divide your home’s average hourly electricity requirement in watts by the solar panel’s power rating.

For example, let’s say you use up 900 kWh in a month like the average homeowner. If the peak sunlight hours in your area is 4 hours, your hourly wattage requirement is 30 kWh divided by 4 or 7.5 kW (7500 watts). If solar panels offered by the installer have a power rating of 300 watts, you would need 25 panels (7500 divided by 300).

Ready to Switch to Green Energy?

Now that you know how to determine the number of panels you’ll need, you can come up with how much money to set aside for solar panel system installation. It’s going to be a considerable investment, but it’s money well spent switching to a renewable, planet-friendly energy source.

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