Solar For The Home – How Many Panels Do I Need?

How big of a solar system you need to power your home is a very common and important question. Because every home is unique, the short answer is that it depends, and this is why we encourage people interested in solar to schedule a free consultation to receive a custom solar analysis and quote.

However, we can offer the following points to help you get a better understanding about how solar works and how many panels you might need to offset your electricity costs.

Tips For Sizing A Solar Power System For The Home

The first thing you can do is familiarize yourself with your annual power costs. You’re charged for power based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) that are burned in your home each month. Everything that uses electricity costs you money to operate. Larger items like your air conditioner, heater, freezer, and microwave use more power and cost more money than do light bulbs and small appliances.

Tip: Start tracking how many kWh you use each month, and try to reduce this number by turning off lights, buying energy efficient appliances, and making other energy conscious decisions.

Once you have an understanding of how many kWh you burn each day, month, and year, figuring out how many solar panels you need to offset that number (by 25%, in half, or in total) is much easier to calculate, and will also help you better understand the cost savings and payback of going solar.

Tip: For every 4 solar panels installed, expect 100-150 kWh/month solar energy production when installed in a location with full sun.

Solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it to energy that can be used within the home. This is one of the most important points to remember, as a roof that is shaded by tree limbs and heavy foliage will provide little to no benefit for solar panels.

Tip: Install solar on the sunniest location on your property for maximum energy production and savings.

In the Southeastern United States the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The angle of the sun changes with seasons, rising higher in the summer and falling lower in cooler months. Solar panels should be oriented to face the south for maximum sunlight absorption throughout the day and year.

However, you can’t change the direction your roof faces, so for someone without a south-facing roof it’s better to install on east and west-facing roofs than not installing anywhere.

Tip: Don’t install solar panels on the north side of your house. Instead, stick to the south side and use east or west facing roofs if you require additional space.

Modern solar panels that are rated from 250 watts to 330 watts each take up about 3 feet by 5 feet of space, or 15 square feet per panel. They’re installed a few inches above the roof line which allows air to flow between the roof and solar panel to keep things operating cool and efficient.

Tip: If building a new home, place all of your vents, ducts, and pipes on the north-facing side so that you have lots of open space to install solar. 

The bottom line is that even without the ideal or perfect conditions, solar is going to save you a substantial amount of money if you can stick to the above guidelines. Every kWh that is produced by a solar panel is money back in your pocket because its electricity you don’t have to buy from the local power utility.

About Southern Current

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top solar installers in the Southeast, with hundreds of installations across South Carolina. There’s never been a more affordable time to create your own energy! Contact us to request information about a solar panel installation for your home or business and see how much you can save with solar.