Investing in solar panels for your home or business is becoming an increasingly good option. The cost is going down, and tax credits can make the switch even more affordable.
But to know if this will work for you, you need to answer an important question: “How many solar panels do I need?”
A solar calculator can help you get an estimate, but first you need to look at several factors.
How Much Electricity Do You Need to Generate?
Before anything else, find out how much energy you typically use. You can get this information from your electricity bill by looking at the kilowatt hours (kWh) used.
Your most recent bill may only show the kWh for the last month, but you should look at a longer period. Ideally, you should get the annual usage. This way, the amount will include any extra power for cooling in summer or heating in winter.
You can then divide the annual usage by 365 to get your kWh per day.
Will You Be Going Off the Grid?
Next consider if you’ll be staying connected to your electricity grid. If you will, you don’t need to worry as much about a buffer, since you’ll still have some electricity options.
But if you’re planning on getting off the grid, you’ll need to increase your solar systems size. This will make sure you have enough energy to get you through shorter daylight hours in winter.
How Much Sun Do You Get?
Where you live also has an impact on the question, “How much solar do I need?”
An average household in California, for example, can use a smaller system compared to Maine because California gets more sun.
Location also impacts your solar panel size calculation. Sunnier spots can have smaller panels and still produce the same amount of energy as larger panels in less sunny areas.
What Kind of Solar Panel Should I Get?
The final question before looking at a solar panel calculator is the kind of panel you’ll use. Your primary options are monocrystalline and polycrystalline.
- Monocrystalline: These black panels are the most efficient but also the most expensive. They’re long-lasting, take up less space than other types, and perform better in higher temperatures. They’re ideal for businesses, and any homes that can afford them.
- Polycrystalline: These blue panels are less expensive to produce, which drives the cost down. They’re also larger and somewhat less efficient. But their lower cost can make them a good choice for homeowners who have the space for them.
The Answer to How Many Solar Panels Do I Need
Solar panels don’t come in a “one size fits all” option. The answer to “how many solar panels do I need?” depends on your individual situation.
But you can get that answer once you know how much energy you need to produce, and how much you can expect to generate based on your location.
If you want help with these calculations, or if you’re ready to move forward with solar, contact us to set up your free consultation.