How many solar panels do you need to light your home?

Stephen Shankland / CNET

With an average of $ 20,000 per unit, residential solar panels are a big investment for most homeowners. If you are planning to go to the sun, you will have very few questions about it, including how many solar panels you need to light your property.

In general, the average solar system for a home consists of 20-25 panels, but the exact number you need depends on many factors, including where you live, how much power you use, and how much power your panels have. Generating.

It may seem like a lot, but it’s very easy to break it down. Let’s look at three key factors that determine how many solar panels you need to light your home, as well as an example of how to calculate the size of your system.

Read more 5 Things to Think About Before You Buy Solar Panels

Average power consumption

To estimate the number of solar panels you need, it is important to understand how much electricity you use on average per year, month and day. Energy consumption may vary slightly depending on the number of people in your household, as well as how many resources you have and how often you use them.

Check last year’s energy bills (hint-in kilowatt-hours or kWh) to find out how much electricity you use in all four seasons. Once you get that number, you know how much solar power you need to generate to meet your needs. For reference, the average American household uses 10,649 kWh per year. That’s just over 29 kWh per day.

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Solar panel output

Individual solar panels can generate a certain amount of energy depending on the condition of your home (including how much sunlight you receive and how much your roof covers). This number is called the power level and is measured in watts, the standard panel generates 250-400 watts of power. For example, you can purchase a solar panel with the listed 325 watts output. You need to multiply the panel watts per day (how much power in the next section) to find out how much power it generates.

If you do not have much space, you may want to invest in solar panels at higher power levels, as they are equipped to generate more power in one panel. Unfortunately, they are also very expensive, so keep that in mind if your solar budget is tight.

The sun in your home

Your physical location is a key factor in influencing the efficiency of solar panels in your home. As you might expect, solar systems are ideal for solar environments – which is why the sun is incredibly popular in states like California and Arizona. With more sunlight, each of your personal solar panels will generate more energy. For our calculations, we estimate that you get the sun four hours a day.

Of course, the location of your home is not something you can change, but it is still important to understand how your region’s sun works for you. In short, your panels work at maximum capacity when you can absorb as much sunlight as possible.

But this is not just about where you live – it is about how your unique property is laid out and how much sunlight reaches your roof. For example, if you have tall trees that provide shade on your roof, your solar panels will not produce as much energy as under clear skies.

Putting it all together

With those variables in mind, we can estimate the number of indoor solar panels you need. In this example, we use the average annual power consumption, solar panel power, and solar hours we mentioned earlier.

Suppose your property receives four hours of sunlight every day, and you are buying 325 watts of solar panels. In that case, each panel can generate 1,300 watts (or 1.3 kW) per day. Your power consumption is on average 29 kW per day.

Key points to keep in mind

Although the cost of solar systems may seem high, there are a few ways to save money on your investment. For example, the federal government provides tax credit for new solar power plants, and many state and local governments offer discounts or incentives. Alternatively, if you cannot afford to buy your panels, you can choose to rent them (but they are not eligible for tax credits and incentives).

Calculating the number of solar panels you need is only part of the equation. Learn more about the benefits and costs of home solar at CNET

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