Solar technology-based systems are proliferating across households and industries alike. The advantages of using solar energy such as minimal environmental impact and financial benefits have boosted its popularity in the past few years. Although getting a solar panel installed is quite simple, a customer still needs to ponder over the question, “How many solar panels do I need?”The answer lies in the following factors:
How Much Power Does Your Household Require?
Your household’s average power requirement can be calculated from your past utility bills. To calculate the number of solar panels needed, you must multiply your hourly energy consumption by the peak sunlight hours in your region. Divide the result by a panel’s wattage.
How’s the Climate and Solar Radiation in Your Region?
Climate plays a key role in estimating your solar panel requirement. To determine the number of panels needed, one must know the number of peak sun hours in the area. Peak sun hours are not merely the number of hours between sunrise and sunset. It is the number of hours for which the sun’s intensity clocks an average of 1,000 watts per square metre.
Efficiency and the Wattage of the PV Panels
The number of solar panels also depends on how much energy does a solar panel produce. The energy generation capacity of a panel depends mainly on two factors: efficiency and wattage of the panel. The efficiency of a solar panel refers to the amount of sunlight that falls onto the surface of the panel and gets converted into electricity. Alternatively, solar panel wattage refers to a solar panel’s theoretical energy production under standard temperature and conditions.
Size of the Solar Panel
The number of panels also depends on the size of the solar panels used. Wondering how do we determine the size of our solar panels? In the case of a small roof area, the size of a solar panel can be an important point for consideration. However, consumers with a large rooftop area may have some liberty to cut down on the panel’s size. If the installation area is limited or partially shaded then high-efficiency panels can be the best means to maximize your output. Residential solar panel dimension can be about 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet or 65 inches by 39 inches. The dimensions may vary a bit depending on the manufacturer.
Now that we are clear about the factors that determine the number of solar panels needed for a system, are you wondering, “How much solar do I need?” To answer that, let us seek the help of a solar power calculation formula.
To calculate solar requirements, consumers can refer to their utility bills and look for kilowatt-hours (kWh) used. If the bill does not offer this information, then the consumers can note the starting and ending readings in a month and deduct the two readings. To get a daily usage, divide the difference in the reading by 365. The result can then be divided by 24 to achieve the hourly usage.
Are Solar Panels Affordable for Households?
Solar panels are easy to install and most homes have enough space to accommodate a solar type PV system for their electricity usage. However, it is important to understand and estimate the correct requirement before choosing a particular panel.
If you are planning to go solar, it will be worth estimating and understanding your energy requirements. Based on your requirements, you can determine the number of panels that will meet your specific need.