Solar energy panels can be an excellent alternative energy solution for individuals who crave a cleaner source of energy. If you are asking yourself ‘how many solar panels do I need?’, then you are already taking the first necessary step towards replacing electricity in your house. Calculating this number can be complicated, but it is easy once you learn how.
While it might seem like an easy question, finding out the number of solar panels you need is a fairly complex problem. Still, it is more than worth it when you save both money and the environment with your new solar panels To solve it; you will need to calculate the amount of energy you use as well as other factors like sun visibility and electronic devices within your house.
But without a professional contractors help, it can be difficult to calculate the exact number of solar panels you will need for your energy needs. Luckily in this article, we will teach you how to convert the current energy usage of your house into solar panels. Let us answer the question of how many solar panels do I need once and for all.
How to Calculate How Many Solar Panels I Need for my House
The first step you must do when calculating how many solar panels you want for your house is figuring out how many kilowatts hours of energy you use each month. For those that have not taken physics in a while, a kilowatt hour is one thousand watts of power used every hour. So if you have a fifty watt light bulb in your house and you leave it on for twenty hours, then you used one kWh. Most households within the United States uses around nine hundred kWh per month or approximately eleven thousand kWh per year.
The easiest way to answer the question ‘how many solar panels do I need?’ is by looking at the amount of energy that you spent on your house in one year. You can figure this out by looking at your electricity or gas bill. The number on your bill is roughly the amount of energy you will spend during any given year. Now you must decide how much you want to offset this cost with solar power. If you are going to be one hundred percent reliant on solar energy, then you will need a reasonably large system to accommodate it.
But what if you do not want to be one hundred percent reliant on solar, but just wise to have twenty-five Percent or seventy-five percent power potential. If you fall under this category, then you must figure out how to solve this problem. You can find the solution by multiply by the decimal of the percentage. This process might seem complicated, but it just involves a little bit of basic math. For example, if I used 900 kWh per month and wanted to be fifty percent reliant on solar panels, then I would use the following equation: 900 kWh x .50 = 450 kWh per month. So, my new system would need to produce four hundred and fifty kilowatts hours per month to offset the cost by fifty percent.
How Much Energy Do Your Solar Panels Produce?
The amount of kwH your solar panels produce depends on a variety of factors. The most important factor is how much sunlight the roof of your home or building receives during a day. If shade from trees or overcast weather and certain months of the year impedes the rays of the sun, then the solar panels will not produce as much energy. The solar panels will not make as much power in the winter during a rainy day later they will on a clear day during the summer.
For example, if you have a house on the west coast and the east with solar panels, then they will both receive roughly the same amount of sunlight. However, you will need a slightly stronger solar panel system for the house on the west coast than you would for the home on the east coast. This difference is because the atmospheric conditions on the west coast are often much hotter than on the east coast. This stronger system will provide a system that is more sensitive to what sunlight it can receive.
When it comes to solar panels, if you need more energy it is usually better to buy more efficient panels as an opposed to a greater quantity of boards. When you buy more groups, you also must take on the potential responsibility of more malfunctions and repairs. On the west coast, you will probably need around a seven kWh system, while on the east coast it will need to be closer to nine kWh.
So, the exact number of solar panels you need depends on environmental conditions and the size of your system. We provided a rough estimate for how many solar panels you will need to power your entire system without the help of electricity. Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, so you may require more or less depending on where you live and what brand you purchase.
- 3.5 kilowatt solar panel system = produces 4,954 kWh = Fourteen estimated solar panels
- Five kilowatt solar panel system = produces 7,161 kWh = Thirty estimated solar panels
- Seven kilowatt solar panel system = produces 9,909 kWh = Twenty-eight estimated solar panels
- Ten kilowatt solar panel system = produces 14,165 kWh = Forty estimated solar panels
- Twelve kilowatt solar panel system = produces 16,987 kWh = Forty-eight estimated solar panels
- Fifteen kilowatt solar panel system = produces 21,234 kWh = Sixty-nine estimated solar panels
How Much Energy Do I My Everyday Appliances Use?
Some people only want solar panels to power one specific device or section of the house. While this method is excellent, it is important to remember that not all household appliances are equal regarding their energy expenditure. Indeed, some devices require quite a bit on kilowatts to remain running. If you are curious about how much energy your appliance uses (as well as how many solar panels they will need), then here are some rough estimates for you to use:
- Refrigerators typically use around six hundred kWh per year. They will need around two solar panels to use.
- Air conditioning units typically use around two hundred and fifty kWh per year. They will need less than one solar panel to use.
- Central air conditioning systems typically use around one thousand kWh per year. They will need around three solar panels to use.
- Electric cars and vehicles typically use around three thousand kWh per year. They will need around ten solar panels to use.
- Heated swimming pools typically use around twenty-five hundred kWh per year. They will need around eight solar panels to use.
- Outdoor hot tubs typically use around thirty-three hundred kWh per year. They will need around eleven solar panels to use.
As this data shows, adding on certain household appliances, unusually high energy items like pools and hot tubs, can significantly increase the energy expenditure of your house.
While it is okay to buy a few panels and add on later as your needs, installation can be a lengthy and inconvenient process. As such, it is best if you try to correctly estimate the exact number of solar panels you will need. Next, all you need to do is figure out where to put them.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for My Specific House?
Large solar panels can quickly take up a lot of roof space. As such, it is important to estimate how many groups you can fit on the roof of your house, or surrounding yard if need be. Unfortunately, this process can be a little difficult because solar panels come in three different sizes: economy size, standard size, and premium size. We provided a rough estimate of how many feet each size would take up for a different system:
- Five-kilowatt system — economy size = three hundred and six square feet of panels, standard size = two hundred fifty-four square feet of panels, premium size = two hundred twenty-four square feet of panels.
- Ten-kilowatt system — economy size = six hundred and twelve square feet of panels, standard size = five hundred and eight square feet of panels, premium size, = four hundred and forty-eight square feet of panels.
- Fifteen-kilowatt system — economy size = nine hundred eighteen square feet of panels, standard size = seven hundred sixty-three square feet of panels, premium size = six hundred seventy-two square feet of panels.
We hope this article helped answer the question ‘how many solar panels do I need?’. If you are not confident in your abilities to accurately calculate and install a solar energy system, then we would recommend higher an outside contractor to take a look and give you their professional opinion. There is no shame in asking for help, especially when it comes to complicated solar systems. But, if you prefer to install the system yourself, then hopefully the tools will help you get started.