How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Power a Home?

The cost of a typical home solar system is somewhere around $10,000 to $20,000, and you’ll want to find out if the venture would fall within or beyond that budget for you. Whichever you look at it, solar is a sizable investment that requires you to ask a few questions. One of those questions may have to do with the number of solar panels needed to power your property.

solar panel
Image by Maria Godfrida from Pixabay

Let’s get to the bottom of that, shall we?

The General Rule

While there’s no harm in using the general rule to dictate the number of panels to acquire for your home, circumstances tend to require you to be more specific. So, yes, 20 to 25 should be a reasonable basis for your home. But is it good enough? A considerable investment like solar demands more certainty in this aspect, as anything less, could lead to unsatisfying results. Factors such as your location, average energy usage annually and monthly, and the amount of power your panels generate should be included in the conversation.

It’s more simple than it looks, especially when broken down. You get to see how these three elements determine the number of solar panels your home needs.

The Three Key Factors

To find out how many panels are needed to power your home, consider the following aspects:

Energy Usage

Your average energy usage is key to understanding the amount of electricity you use each day, month, and year. This is one of three key factors to determine how many solar panels to purchase for your home. There is quite a bit of variation to this aspect, as well. You will need to consider the number of people in the household and the number of appliances the system needs to power. There is also the matter of how often these appliances are working.

Instead of giving yourself a headache assessing the finer details, just review your energy bill. Everything you need to know about your home’s energy consumption should be there. After arriving at that figure, you should get a reasonable estimate of how many panels can meet your energy needs.

Solar Power System Output

Each system’s panel produces a specific amount of energy, depending on the circumstances surrounding your home, including the amount of sunlight it gets and how much of it is under the shade. This figure is called the power rating, measured in watts.

The basic panel can generate more than 200 to about 400 watts of power. For instance, one typical panel may have a labeled output of 350 watts. This value would then need to be multiplied by how many hours of sun your home gets daily to understand the amount of energy it produces.

If space is not as abundant, choosing panels with higher wattage ratings could be more intelligent since each would generate more energy. However, it is worth noting that these are some of the more expensive options and might not be a good choice if your budget is tight.

Sunshine Your Home Gets

Physical location matters for determining solar panel numbers. To arrive at a reasonable estimate, you need to consider how much sunlight your area gets. A home in Phoenix, for instance, tends to receive more sunlight than a Seattle residence. Thus, you may not need as many panels in this location as you would in the cloudier and gloomier area. Sunny regions mean each panel generates more energy.

Don’t take that to mean you can’t go solar in Seattle, though; you still can. However, you’ll need to install more panels there for the system to be efficient.

Location tends to be constant, so there’s not much you can do about it short of relocating. That said, it’s vital to recognize how the area you’re in factors into both the efficiency and inefficiency of your solar power system. The sunnier it is in your place, the more sunlight your panels can absorb and use to operate at maximum capacity.

Almost as important as location is the way your home is laid out. There can be a lot of sun in your area, but that won’t matter if no sunlight reaches your home’s roof. Much of your property might be in the shade, or there may be trees around preventing sunlight from reaching the panels. Either way, your panels won’t be able to operate how they’re supposed to, even with clear skies.

So, How Many Panels Does Your Home Require?

Using these variables, you should be able to get a rough estimate of the number of solar panels required to power your home. It won’t necessarily be the exact figure, but it will be a figure you can apply in the installation process. Besides, you’re advised to work with a solar installer for this venture, and he should be able to ensure everything goes well from start to finish.

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