If you’re thinking about powering your home with solar panels, you’re not alone. The popularity of solar energy has been on a meteoric rise for the past several years. The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy says that the number of solar installations has increased 35-fold since 2008.
There’s a lot to think about before you start looking for solar energy companies to come out and set up a grid for you. First of all, you may be wondering, how many solar panels do I need? Every house is different, after all, and not everyone will need the same amount of energy to keep things running.
Here are some answers to the first question that pops up when you start to consider solar energy for your home.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
Let’s cover your biggest question first — how many solar panels does a house need? There are several steps to answering this question. Let’s start at the top.
1. Find Out How Much Power You Use
Your first step is to check out your energy bill to figure out how much power your household needs to generate.
Most of the time, you can find this information at the bottom of your energy bill. Your total kilowatt-hours (kWh) will be listed there — the cost of electricity will be multiplied by this figure.
If you don’t have an electricity bill to hand, consider this figure: the average American home uses 877 kWh of energy per month. For a rough estimate of how many solar panels you will need, you can use this number to do your initial calculations.
2. Check the Roof
Next, you’ll have to look at your roof to see how solar panels will work up there. Specifically, you’ll want to figure out how much sun they’ll get.
Let’s say you have a south-facing roof with no trees overhead. If so, you have the ideal setup for solar panels. Yours will get ample, unobstructed light all day long — the perfect situation for solar panels.
Now, if your roof doesn’t have these qualities, there are a few things you can do. You can remove branches and overhangs to ensure your panels get more sunlight, for example. This is a good idea for the function and longevity of your panels since falling sticks can damage your panels.
Or, you can reach out to a solar panel expert to go over your options. Perhaps you have a stretch of land on your property that could better host your solar panels than your roof.
3. Consider the Climate
Some areas of the U.S. get more sunlight than others. As a Californian, you’re lucky — you get more of these valuable rays than homeowners in other parts of the country.
In fact, one of the best places to get solar panels is in Southern California. The sun shines all year long, meaning you don’t have to factor in a long stretch of cloudy or wintry days that could affect your system’s output.
The average home in California requires just over 6,000 kWh of energy to run. To create this much energy, you would need about 15 solar panels to keep your abode buzzing year-round.
Of course, this number varies from home to home. A bigger home or property will require more panels, as you have learned by now.
Okay, So How Many Do I Need?
Now we know the factors that will affect your home’s solar setup. But you can perform a calculation for a closer estimate of the number of panels you’ll need based on your home’s energy usage.
Grab that energy bill again to look at your total kWh usage. Divide the number by how many days there were in that month. So, if you are looking at a bill from April, you’ll divide the number by 30.
The number you get is your home’s daily kWh usage. Let’s say you used 1,200 kWh hours in April. Divide 1,200 by 30, and you get 40. So, you’ll know that you used 40 kWh per day that month.
Next, you’ll calculate how much sunlight the panel will receive and how many watts of energy it will be able to create during that time. Different panels have different wattage outputs, so you won’t know how much potential your panels have until you select a brand.
Most panels produce anywhere from 250 to 400 watts per hour of sunlight. Let’s say you’re eyeing panels that create 300 watts per hour, and you get eight hours of sunlight each day. That’s 2.4 kWh of energy per panel.
So, if you need 40 kWh per day, and a single panel creates 2.4 kWh, you’ll need 17 solar panels to fully power your home. If you’re happy for your solar panels to partially cover your power bill, then you can install a few less than that and still reap the many advantages of solar energy.
What Should I Do Next?
You likely have a rough answer to your question, how many solar panels do I need? However, you can get a clearer picture by calling in an expert, who can determine the number of panels that will keep your California abode running with only natural energy.
HomePro Solutions can help you at every step of the process. We can do all of the above calculations for you. We can also come out and install the solar panel your home needs, depending on those calculations.
If you’re ready to make the switch to solar energy, then contact us today. Together, we can get started and make a difference by going green, one home at a time.