How many solar panels do I need?
How many solar panels do I need is probably one of the most asked questions we get when discussing solar panels for our client’s homes or offices. It is a great question! And this blog post is going to go in detail so you will know how many solar panels you need for your solar panel system project.
The first question we ask after we get this question is, “What is your goal?”. We don’t mean to answer a question with a question, but it is the foundation for building the right solar panel system for your specific project. So, what is your goal? Common goals range from minimizing your carbon footprint, maximizing your ROI, or save as much money as possible. Obviously, you can have multiple purposes, but defining that upfront will help us answer your question.
Next, we will need to calculate how many solar panels you will need for your project. Items we will need are the following:
- how much energy your home or office uses
- your roofs usable surface area
- the climate and sunlight in the area
- the wattage and panels you are considering
Let’s take a look at each in a little more depth.
How much energy does my home or office use?
This can be determined by researching past utility bills. Once you know how much energy you consume, you can do a quick calculation. Multiply your home or office’s hourly energy requirement by the peak sunlight hours for your area and dividing that by a panel’s wattage. You would use low-wattage as well as high-wattage to establish a range.
How many watts are you using?
Again, take a look at your electricity bill. You want to know how many kWH used and in what time period the statement reflects. Typically, it reflects a 30-day period. You will want to do a quick calculation for daily and hourly usage as well. The daily energy usage will be used to calculate your solar needs based on your goals. This will be an estimate because, depending upon weather conditions, your solar panels will not operate at maximum efficiency at all times.
How many hours of sunlight are there?
We are talking about peak sunlight hours; how many are there? Luckily leaving in Texas, we do experience an abundance of sunlight. You will need to take the hourly usage and multiply it by 1,000 to convert your hourly power generation to watts. Then, divide your average hourly wattage requirement by the number of daily peak sunlight hours for your home and office. This answer will give you the amount of energy your solar panels will need to produce every hour.
What solar panels you are considering?
Not all solar panels are created equal. The solar panels range in watts produced due to quality and efficiency variations. There is a wide range of them on the market. For these purposes, you need to consider the more efficient a solar panel is, the fewer you may need for your project. If you have a panel in mind, then divide your home’s hourly wattage requirement by the solar panels’ wattage to get the total number of panels you will need for your solar panel system.
Hopefully, this will give you a better idea of how many solar panels you will need for your solar panel system. A professional solar panel installation company can help you calculate a firm number. Sunshine Renewable Solutions offers a turn-key solution and will step you through each step in the process. We offer a complimentary consultation to help you answer this very question, “How many solar panels do I need?”