Calculating The Amount Of Panels You Need Isn't As Hard As You Imagined
Going green can be somewhat of a daunting task, especially if you are trying to figure out just how many solar panels you need to meet your electric requirements.
Although you can hire a professional to work this out for you, it’s completely possible to do it yourself following these few easy steps.
Electrical usage is measured in kilowatts per hour (kWh). Knowing this, your average daily electricity usage can be used to figure out how many solar panels you actually need.
So, for example, if you use 1 kWh of electricity per day, your solar panels must be able to collect 1 kilowatt of solar energy per day in order to address 100% of your energy needs.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Collect all your electric bills from the past 12 months and add them up.
2. Take this total and divide it by 12 to get your average kWh used per month.
3. Then, take your average monthly kWh and divide it by 30, the average days in a month. The total you get will give you a number for your average daily electrical usage in kWh.
4. Now, take your daily electrical usage and divide it by the average amount of sunlight your roof receives per day. This number equates to the amount of kilowatts your system needs to produce every hour to cover your electric requirements.
5. Finally, take this number and divide it by the wattage of the solar panels you intend to purchase.
The answer you get will be the number of solar panels you require to meet your energy needs.
Simple, right ?!
Now let’s try this calculation with some real numbers so it makes a little more sense…
Say you collect your bills and the total usage over 12 months equates to 9600kWh, dividing this by 12 gives you the monthly average of 800kWh for your home. Dividing this amount by 30, the average days per month, gives you a total of 26.67kWh per day. You now need to divide this number again by the average amount of sunlight hours your panels receive per day. Let’s make it 5 hours per day, just to be conservative.
So, assuming you have used 9600kWh over the last 12 months, the calculations will look as follows:
You have now established how much electricity your solar panels need to generate every hour to cover 100% of your needs. To finally work out how many panels you require, you need to decide what wattage of solar panels you are going to use.
Assuming you are installing 200-watt (0.2 kW) panels, your calculation looks as follows:
If you are opting for 250-watt (0.25 kW) panels, your calculation looks as follows:
It makes more sense now, right ?!
You may not want your solar panels to cover 100% of your electrical consumption in a day, and that’s just fine.
All this means is that you have a little more math to do…
Taking the numbers from the above calculation into consideration, decide just how much you actually want to settle for. Let’s say you only want solar power to account for 70% of your requirements, you now take that 26.7 kWh and multiply it by 70%.
With 250-watt panels, the actual calculations will look like this:
Again, this is a really simple calculation you can use to give you an approximate number of solar panels, but keep in mind that the solar panel’s efficiency rating and size has not been included in this scenario, and it may affect this number slightly.
Yes, it’s no secret that a contractor will also be able to tell you what the exact number of solar panels are that you may need.
Why should you then even try to get this number when the professional can do it for you?
The answer is quite simple, really.
Calculating the approximate number of the panels makes the entire process easier. With this number you will gain a better understanding of the solar project as a whole, and you will be able to create a budget and an approximate timetable around it too.
This will make the entire process easier once you start dealing with contractors.
So, once the number of solar panels has been calculated, you will still need to compare as many quotes as possible in order for you to establish which deal will suit your budget best.
You can start right now by entering your zip in the area provided. Doing so will allow you to receive up to four, 100% FREE, no obligation solar estimates from certified solar panel dealers in your area.