Do you want to cut your energy bill? Maybe you’re worried about your home’s carbon footprint and you need an alternative source of energy? If so, installing solar panels is a timely home upgrade. Solar panels help you harness the clean and renewable energy of the sun. It’s possible to power your home 100% on solar power and save immensely on electricity costs. Solar power makes your home energy independent and helps protect the environment.
But how much solar power does your home need? This is the first question when you plan to install solar panels. Every home has unique energy requirements. Your solar energy contractor helps assess the amount of solar power you need for your home. This is an important step in determining the size of the solar energy system.
Below are factors to help you calculate the amount of solar power you need for your home.
Determine Your Average Power Requirements
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average electricity consumption for a residential utility consumer is about 877 kWh per month. But every consumer has unique energy needs and consumption thus differs.
- Using Utility Bills
The easiest way to determine the solar power you need is to check your past consumption. Your utility bills for the last year can reveal the average consumption, and this is the figure your solar panel contractor can work with.
If your bills don’t provide the Kilowatt Hours (or kWh) used for the last month, calculate the usage from the meter readings. You can also get the daily and hourly usage to calculate how much solar power you need from the solar panels. On average, an ordinary home uses 30 kWh per day or 1.25 kWh per hour.
Now, using the daily figures, your solar contractor can calculate the amount of solar power the panels need to produce to meet daily needs. The idea is to install solar panels that can meet all or most of your energy needs. Of course, there are factors that affect your solar system’s capacity to perform at 100% efficiency.
- List Systems/Appliances to Use Solar
Another way to determine your solar power needs is to list all the appliances/systems you expect to run on solar power. Every appliance has a power consumption rating label and you can get the wattage for the device. Your solar panel contractor can help you with the calculation of power requirements.
These calculations help you determine how much solar power these devices will draw. Consider also the length of usage with these appliances. Use the output wattage and multiply the number with the hours you expect to use the devices. The total gives you total watt-hours.
Sunlight Hours in Your Location
When calculating how much solar power you need in your home, consider the impact of the weather. A home in Arizona can enjoy over 300 days of sunshine, but the same is not possible in other areas. A home in Arizona requires fewer solar panels to run compared to one in New York.
From the hourly usage you’ve calculated previously, you can determine the amount of solar power the solar panels need to generate hourly.
- First, convert your hourly power generation to watts by multiplying the daily usage (in Kilowatt Hours (or kWh)) by 1,000.
- Second, use the average hourly wattage required to power your home by the number of daily peak sunlight hours in your region.
- Get the solar power requirement for your solar panels every hour.
Determine Solar Panel Efficiency
Now that you’ve determined how much solar power the panels need to produce to power your home, consider the quality of the solar panels. Solar panel efficiency refers to the ability of the panel to convert sunlight into energy. Higher efficiency solar panels are cost-effective in the long run.
You need fewer for your home to meet your solar power needs. You can determine the number of solar panels you need by dividing your home’s hourly wattage requirement by the solar panels’ wattage.
Using Online Calculators
You can make things easier by leveraging digital technology. Online calculators help you size your solar panel system or determine the amount of solar power you need.
Find the Best Solar Company in your area
Are you wondering how much solar power you need for your home? The solar experts at Total Solutions can help with the calculations. Contact us today and let’s help you design an efficient solar power system. Currently, we serve Scottsdale, Phoenix, Columbus, and Norfolk, VA locations.