How Many Solar Panels Do I Need

Installing a solar panel is a great way to minimize your energy bills and utilize the sun’s energy. It does not only have low maintenance costs but is also safer for the environment.

So if you want to install a solar panel on your property, then you must determine how many solar panels would be sufficient for your needs. This will make the installation process seamless and help you save money. In this article, you will learn to calculate how many panels you need along with other fundamental information. So if this sounds compelling, read along. 

How to Determine How Many Solar Panels You Will Need

There are several factors that can affect the number of solar panels you will need. We’ll talk about them in a few minutes but first, let’s talk about the mathematical formula that you must know to determine the system size that you need. You simply have to divide your kWh per year by average sunlight * 30. After determining the KW that you need, you can take the space in your roof into consideration to get the ideal number of panels.

If your roof has enough space, then you could use cheaper panels and spread it across the area. For people who have a small roof, power panels would be suitable as they would provide good power without needing extra space. Here is a chart for your reference:

Average Energy Bill/monthSize Of Solar SystemNumber Of Panels (330W)Estimated Space Required
$12010kW32 Panels624 sq.ft
$60050kw157 Panels3,061 sq.ft
$1200100kW438 Panels8,541 sq.ft
$2400200kW556 Panels10,842 sq.ft

Figuring out how many panels you need

If you are still confused about how many panels you need, then here we have given two examples. So first, let’s assume you are a business owner who needs solar panels for his business property.  

The majority of small and mid-sized business institutions require a 50kW to a 200kW. This is a general range, so you must assess your needs first, then make a decision. For example- if your monthly electricity bill is around $1500 to $3000, then a 200kW solar system would be ideal to satisfy your needs. This type of system will need around 3000 sq. ft of space as well as 150 330 W solar panels.

On the other hand, a 5kW to 20kW solar system is perfect for most homeowners. Though if you have extra appliances and amenities like a heated pool, then it might vary. For example- if you are a regular user with approx a $120 electricity bill each month, then you will have to install a 10kW solar system. This system will require 624 sq. ft and utilize 32 330 W solar panels.

Things that influence how many panels you’ll need

As mentioned above, it’s time to talk about the factors that affect the number of solar panels you will need.

1. Your Monthly Or Yearly Electricity Cost & Usage

The amount of electricity you use can greatly affect the number of panels you will need. That’s why it’s best to look at your previous electricity records (6 to 12 months). This will help you figure out your electricity needs and you will be able to make a good decision. You should check the appliances in your home and consider future electrical upgraded too. For example- if you will be buying a new fridge or invest in an HVAC system soon, then your electricity needs will also rise. So keep these factors in mind before installing a solar system.

2.  Average Daily Sunlight

Solar systems require solar energy, so you must know the average sunlight that you get in a day. It’s important because two same-sized solar systems will provide different results if they are receiving different amounts of sunlight. Once you know about the average daily sunlight that you get, you can use the equation to decide how many panels you will need.

3. Type of Solar Panel

You should know that not all solar panels are not created equal, and their efficiency varies from one model to another. For example- some solar systems have an efficiency of 21%, while some can be slightly weaker with 15% efficiency. That’s why you should work with a reliable solar power installation company to get the best service and results.

How to calculate the number of solar panels you need

To calculate the number of your required solar panels, first, you need to figure out your annual electricity consumption, panel wattage, & production ratios. Determining yearly electricity usage is not that difficult. You could have a look at your energy bills, and you will get the number (kWH). According to EIA, an average American utilizes around 10,649 kWh of electricity/year.

Solar panels come in a broad range of power, generally from 250 to 100W. So you can decide the Wattage as per your needs, here we are taking the average, which is 320W. Production ratios are also easy to determine as it’s just the ratio of the energy that the system generates to the size of the system. Let’s say your system is 10kW, and it generates 16kWh of energy, so the production ratio will be 1.6 (16/10).

Once you have all the factors, you only need to use the equation, which is system size/panel wattage/production ratio = No of panels. So if we put the numbers here (10.649kW/320W/1.6), then we will get our answer, which is 25 panels.

How much roof space will you need?

The roof space that you will need depends on the number of solar panels you want to install. For example- you will need 360 to 600 sq. ft of roof space to install 20 to 35 solar panels. Nowadays, the majority of residential solar panels have an area of 17.55 sq. ft. So multiple this number with the number of solar panels you want to install, and you will know how much roof space you will need.

Conclusion

Solar panels have gained great popularity in recent years, all credit goes to their long-term benefits. It helps you reduce your energy bills without harming nature. The best way to figure out how many solar panels you will need is by determining your energy needs. The number of appliances you use also plays a major role, that’s why it’s essential to calculate everything properly. If you are unsure what to do, then taking the help of professionals is also a good idea as it will reduce the chances of any errors.

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