Solar power is slowly becoming part of our everyday lives. More and more homes are investing in solar energy, getting solar panels to power their homes, and just being more conscious of the environment in general. Minimizing your carbon footprint, lowering your expenses, striving to minimize your negative impact on the environment as much as you can – these are all reasons people get solar panels. However, getting them installed and set up can be tricky.
Namely, besides the actual effort needed to set everything up, you also need to figure out how many do you actually need. This is where we come in. In the article below, you will some factors that should help you figure out exactly how many panels you need.
The amount of power you need
If you want to determine precisely how much solar power you need to generate, you can’t just look at your electricity bill and be done with it. What you have to do is see what your home’s hourly energy requirements are, multiply that by the number of peak sunlight hours in your area, and then divide that number with the wattage of your panels (more on that later).
For example, let’s say your home uses 24kW per day, 1kW per hour. This means that if you want 100% coverage, you need to get 1kW an average per hour from your solar panels. However, your solar panels only work for a limited amount of time (i.e. when the sun is out, and strong enough to power them). So the actual output you need, for this example, is achieved by taking your daily amount, 24kW, and dividing it by the number of peak sunlight hours you get.
The amount of power you got
If you want to determine your average power usage, look at your bills. Find the heading that indicates how many kWh (kilowatt-hours) have been used. If you only have the number of kilowatts used on paper, then just divide that number by how many hours there were in the month (or week or year, depending to what period the bill refers to).
The number of hours of sunlight you get
As we’ve mentioned, you need to figure out what the peak sunlight hours in your area are and how many of them can you expect. Now, just because you don’t see much sun in your area doesn’t mean you can go solar. However, you do need to contend with the fact that 100% coverage of your energy bills does depend on some things that are simply not in your control.
Of course, contacting professional solar panel electricians is perhaps the safest choice. They can help you figure out the precise number of panels you need according to your goals, and can give you precise readings and advice.
Efficiency and size of solar panels
There is one point you need to take into account, and that is the actual type of solar panel. Namely, photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, which are the most common type of solar panel, can give you outputs of anything between 150 and 350 watts. This depends on their size, as well as how efficiently they convert sunlight into energy.
Solar panels with no grid lines, for example, absorb sunlight better and give you more energy. Some of them have micro-inverters that optimize power even more.
So, let’s say you need 24kW of energy on a daily basis. Furthermore, let’s say you get 4 hours of solid sunlight per day. This means your solar panels need to create 6kW (6000 watts) of energy per operating hour (divide 24kW with 4 hours). With a mid-range solar panel outputting 250 watts, you will need to divide 6000 by 250, meaning you will need 24 panels to power your home completely.
Figuring out how many panels you need is not the easiest job in the world, but trust us, it’s gonna be worth it. Whether you want to do as much as you can to save the environment, minimize your power and electricity bill, or both, installing solar panels is a great goal to move towards. So, figure out how much power you will need, and how much power are you using at the moment. Then try and do some research on how many hours of sunlight you get in your area. This information, along with some basic data on solar panels, should be pretty much all you need.