How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

If you’re thinking about investing in solar panels for your home or business, it can be overwhelming to get started.

Some common questions that beginners ask when they start to explore the option are how many solar panels they need and how much they will cost.

So, let’s take a look.

How to Calculate Your Solar Panel Needs

Most people want enough solar panels to provide energy for their entire house. That means that buying solar panels is not a one-size-fits-all number. You can’t calculate your needs based on the size of your house or get the hard numbers from others. Instead, you need to use kilowatt hours to determine the amount of energy you consume.

Determine Your Kilowatt Hour Usage

The easiest way to determine how much energy your household or business uses every month and year is from your utility bills. Simply add up your total kilowatt hours used from the previous 12 bills you’ve received or check and see if your yearly use has already been totaled up and is on display on your account. Once you know how much energy you use, the next step is to determine how many solar panels you need to cover it.

Determine How Many Solar Panels You Need

On average, the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that families in the United States used 10,766 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which equals 897 kWh a month, or 30 kWh a day.

Solar Panel Rocks reports that, “as of 2017, a typical solar panel produces around 265 watts of power.” So, each panel can produce about one kilowatt of power per day with four hours of sun.

In this scenario, you will need 30 panels to power your house entirely for a year. If you live somewhere where you can regularly expect more than four hours of sunshine every day, you can cut down on the number of panels that you need.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Different companies charge different prices.

The Solar Power Authority reports that the average cost for solar panels in the United States is $18,840. However, it’s important to note that this cost is before any tax credits or subsidies are included. Check your local laws to see if there are any benefits in your state to help reduce the cost of your solar panel setup and installation.

The amount of solar panels you need depends on a lot of factors. The two most important factors are how much energy your home or business consumes and the state you are located in.

Typically, one panel can be expected to produce one kilowatt hour of energy per day with four hours of sunlight. In many parts of the US, four hours is an average amount but some cities are lower because of regular cloud cover, like Seattle, and some are higher because of their sunny environments, like Los Angeles or Phoenix.

If you’re ready to take the leap and install solar power for your home, use this guide to calculate the number of solar panels you need!

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