In order to determine how many solar panels you need to power your home, a few factors must be considered. This article will provide you with the basics required to assess your specific solar needs and give general information about solar panel systems.
Ready? Let’s go!
Sizing Up Your Solar Needs
To determine how many solar panels you need to power your home, you first have to take some measurements. We’ll show you how to do that in this section.
What Is Your Home’s Average Energy Usage?
First, you need to determine your daily electricity consumption. The average electricity use per household is 901 kWh/month. This will give you a baseline for how much solar energy you need to generate. You may calculate your home’s past power usage by looking at old electricity bills or by using an online calculator like the one DOE offers.
How Much Sun Exposure Does Your Home Get?
Use an online solar insolation calculator, like the one from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), to find how much sunlight your location receives. This will help you determine the right type and size of solar panels for your needs once you know how much electricity, on average, your home uses.
Now that you have these two pieces of information, use this formula to calculate the number of solar panels you need:
Number of solar panels needed = (Daily energy usage in kWh) / (Solar insolation in kWh/m2/day)
Let’s use an example to explain this further. If your home uses 30 kWh of energy each day, and you live in a place that gets 4 kWh/m2/day of solar insolation, then you would need 7.5 solar panels using the formula provided earlier.
How Much Power Do Solar Panels Generate?
Solar panel wattage varies depending on the type and size of solar panels. Most solar panels are made from silicone, which comprises around 95% of all solar panels. The three main types of home silicon solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and film Solar Panels.
The average wattage for monocrystalline solar panels is 150-200 watts, while the average wattage for polycrystalline panels is 135-175 watts. Thin film solar panels have an average wattage of between 50-150 watts.
Note that these are simply averages and your needs could differ based on your distinct situation.
Once you calculate the number of solar panels needed to cover your energy usage, double-check that they will physically fit by measuring the available space on your roof. This step is important to ensure you can install the necessary amount of solar panels. When taking measurements, be sure to consider:
- Width of the roof
- Pitch (angle) of the roof
Solar Panel Systems: An Overview
All set on finding out how many solar panels you require to power your home? Let’s move on, then, and explore the different types of solar panel systems. There are really only two types. The two types of solar panel systems are grid-tied and off-grid.
What Are Grid-Tied Solar Panel Systems?
Grid-tied solar panel systems are more expensive than off-grid ones because they require additional machines, like batteries and a backup generator. Even though they cost extra, grid-tied solar photovoltaic systems provide your home with both power and backup electricity in case of an energy outage-meaning you don’t have to rely on generating all of the power your house needs by yourself.
What Are Off-Grid Solar Panel Systems?
Off-grid solar panel systems may require more maintenance but are cheaper than grid-tied systems. Before setting up your off-grid system, you should ensure that it is sized correctly to generate enough power for your needs. Without a backup plan, you risk power outages on days when solar panels can’t generate enough energy. So, especially if you live in a cold or extremely hot climate, ensure you have a backup heating or cooling source.
Now that you understand the basics of how many solar panels are needed to power a home and the types of solar systems, you can begin mapping out your own system.
Can I Get Solar Panels Professionally Installed?
If you don’t want to install solar panels, you can buy one from a retailer or installer. You can also lease a solar panel system, which is becoming more popular because it doesn’t require much money upfront. No matter which option you choose, make sure to do your research so that you find the best deal for your needs.
Finding the Best Solar System Installation Company
Once you’ve decided to have solar panels power your home, it’s time to find a trustworthy company to install them for you. Here are some tips:
1. Get References
Be sure to ask the company for references from past customers and check online reviews. This way, you can find out if other people have had positive experiences with the company.
2. Get Estimates
In order to get the best value for your money, it is important to compare prices and services from different companies. By getting multiple quotes, you can be sure that you are making the best decision for your needs.
3. Secure a Warranty
Choose a company that offers a warranty on their solar energy system installation work to protect yourself from any potential issues.
4. Ask Lots and Lots of Questions!
Ask the company you are considering solar array installation about their experience, what type of solar panels they recommend for your home, and how they will handle the installation process. Do not be discouraged or nervous to have this conversation, as it can save you time, money, and energy in the long run.
If you follow these tips, you can find a trustworthy solar installation company like Solar by Peak to Peak that will do an excellent job installing your solar panels and solar system.
How Much Money Do Solar Panels Cost?
Although solar panels demand an upfront investment, solar panels will save you money in the future. With technology rapidly improving, solar panels have become increasingly affordable, with the average cost being $3 per watt. To give some perspective in relation to solar panel wattage, a 100-watt panel should be around $300.
Solar panels range in price depending on efficiency and size. The recent increase in people’s interest of installing a solar energy system, coupled with global shortages of electrical components, has made solar pricing slightly less predictable. Keep in mind that installing more than one panel will result in a greater upfront cost.
Although installing your solar panels yourself is often more affordable, we advise against it. This type of work is dangerous – between heights and electrical work. Leave the installation to the professionals at Solar by Peak to Peak.
Solar Panel Maintenance
Although solar panels are low-maintenance, it is necessary to clean them occasionally to ensure peak performance. If you have a number of solar panels, this can take a while. In addition, you should check the inverter and batteries monthly for any issues. If your system is grid-tied, then you must also monitor the power grid of the utility company on a regular basis to confirm that your system is functional. Use these tips to maintain your solar system and ensure a consistent power supply for your home.
Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy provides multiple advantages, both to the environment and your budget. Here are some of solar energy’s primary benefits:
- Renewable and environmentally friendly
- Money savings
- Solar panels require very little maintenance
- Increase the value of your home
- Federal tax credits
Are you looking for an energy-saving, monthly money-saving, eco-friendly option for your home? If so, solar energy may be the solution for you. Solar panel systems become more popular every year as people see how much they can save. In addition to saving money on your electric bill and reducing your reliance on the grid, solar panels are a great way to do your part in preserving our environment. Ready to make the switch? Your home could run on solar power today!
Level Up With Solar Power!
Now is the ideal time to switch your household over to solar energy. Technology has improved greatly in recent years, making solar panels more affordable and effective than ever.
Before investing in solar panels, be sure to research and pick a dependable solar installation company, like Solar by Peak to Peak. They provide free solar installation evaluations. With careful planning, you’ll soon reap all the rewards of having a solar system or array.