Solar Production – Determining the Number of Solar Panels NeededOctober 15, 2019
“How many solar panels will my home need?” This is a common question we get from homeowners interested in installing a solar energy system on their roof. Determining the number of solar panels your home will need is based upon a few factors. Let’s take a closer look at those factors and how it will help solar professionals calculate the number needed.
Your Current Energy Consumption
The biggest factor to examine when deciding on the number of solar panels needed is the current energy usage. Since most homeowners want to produce enough energy to dramatically reduce, if not altogether eliminate their electric bill, the first step is to determine exactly how much energy a home is consuming in the first place. The way our specialists do this is to evaluate your utility bills from the past few months to a year.
We analyze the “Kilowatt Hours (or kWh) Used” or something similar, and then note the time period represented (usually 30 days give or take a day or a few). If your bill doesn’t show kilowatt-hours used, we search for a beginning and ending meter reading and subtract the previous reading from the most recent one. From there we can take stock of how much energy your family is really using on a monthly basis.
A small home in a temperate climate might use something like 200 kWh per month, and a larger home in the south where air conditioners account for the largest portion of home energy usage might use 2,000 kWh or more. The average U.S. home uses about 900 kWh per month. So that’s 30 kWh per day or 1.25 kWh per hour.
How Many Average Hours of Sun Does Your Area Get?
The number of peak sunlight hours for your state and region will determine how much energy you can expect your solar energy system to produce. In Massachusetts, our average insolation is about 4 sun hours per day and ranges from less than 2 in the winter to over 5 in the summer. While this number is not as high as some of our southern and western state counterparts, it is still plenty to supply electricity to your home. The Renewable Resource Data Center provides sunlight information by state and for major cities if you would like to explore the amount for your region, specifically.
How Much Energy Would You Like to Offset?
This may seem like a no-brainer kind of question but most homeowners would like to find a good balance between installing too many panels and too few. That’s why we spend time examining the number of sunlight hours, your consumption patterns, and the efficiency you are looking for.
In regard to efficiency, the Maxeon technology we use in our solar panels here at SunPower by BlueSel is extremely highly efficient, meaning you need to purchase fewer as compared with other solar energy systems. Our systems have no grid lines on the front, which allows for more absorption of the sunlight than conventional cells and does not suffer from issues such as delamination (peeling). The construction of our cells makes them stronger and more resistant to cracking or corrosion. And a microinverter on each panel can optimize power conversion at the source, in contrast to one large inverter mounted on the side of the house.
Knowing more about the sunlight in your region, as well as the amount of energy you currently use will help our solar specialists determine how many panels you will need in order to produce enough electricity to reduce or eliminate your bills. Doesn’t that sound nice? Call our technicians today or visit our website to find out more.