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How Many Solar Panels Will You Need ?

Determining how many solar panels you need to buy in order to power your home with solar energy can be tricky. In order to figure out how many solar panels that you will need you first need to figure out how much energy you need to run your home normally and how much sun your area gets on a normal day. Let’s start by figuring out how to calculate how much energy you use on a daily basis.

Even if you’re using solar energy to power most of your home you will probably still be using grid electricity or gas to power large appliances like your water heater or your washer and dryer because solar energy is really not cost effective to use for major appliances. So you will be using solar energy to power things like your lights, TV, computer, phone, cable, refrigerator, microwave, kitchen appliances, and so on.

To figure out how much energy you use to power those things you will need to look at the detailed figures of your electric bill. Most people just take an average of the amount of energy used per hour because it’s easy to find that on the bill. So for the purposes of this example let’s say that an average home uses 800 watts per hour. Multiply 800 watts per hour times 24 hours in a day and you get 19,200. So the average home uses 19,200 watts of energy per day.
Now you have to look at how much energy a solar panel is capable of putting out each day. A typical consumer solar panel is capable of putting out 70 milliwatts of power per square inch every five hours. So multiplying 70 times 5 you get 350 milliwatt hours per day. Dividing 19,200 watts of energy used per day by 350 milliwatts of output by a single solar panel and you will need about 54,000 square inches of solar panel to create enough electricity to provide power for most of the appliances in the house.

Now that’s calculating for just basic appliances. If you want to add one room air conditioner you need to double your power output. So, if you want to use solar energy to power your entire house and you want to keep the initial cost of buying and installing solar panels down you should think about switching to smaller, more energy efficient appliances and learning how to conserve energy as often as possible.
Having this basic information about the size of the solar panel array that you will need will make it a lot easier for you to get accurate quotes from solar panel dealers because most of the time solar power systems are priced per square foot. Every home is different so every home needs a different amount of solar panels in order to get useable solar power.

The other factor that matters when it comes to determining how many solar panels you will need is the position of your house. Because the solar panels need to absorb as much sunlight as possible in order to work effectively the more of a southern exposure your house has the more power the solar panels will generate and the less of them you will need. Make sure that the position the solar panels need to go in has enough room to accommodate the number of panels that you’ll need.
When you are figuring out where to put your solar panels try to figure out where due south is in relation to your house and plan on positioning the panels there.

To find out where due south is when it comes to your property you can take the number of hours between sunrise and sunset and divide that number in half. The position the sun is in at that time during the day is due south.
If your property doesn’t have a due south exposure or you can only put the solar panels in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight you will need to either use an additional solar panel array on your roof, or put in some solar roof shingles, or you can also use a battery to help your solar panels produce more power.
When you make the decision to install solar panels it’s best to have a trained solar panel consultant come to your property and look it over. A solar panel consultant can advise you on the best position for your solar panel array and can also help you determine exactly how many solar panels you’ll need.

The amount of solar panels that you need to power your house will also depend on the type of solar panel that you choose. Different types of panels will give off different amounts of energy so if you’re using your solar panels for full power in your home then you should consider getting the highest grade monocrystalline solar panels that are available because they have the highest electricity return rate and are the easiest to custom fit because they are one large sheet instead of groupings of individual PVcells.

If you are going to use solar power only as a supplement to traditional grid power and to do things like heat your pool and hot tub, or power your outdoor lights, then you can choose a less expensive type of panel or you can buy fewer of the high grade solar panels.

If you want to use solar power but aren’t sure that solar power is going to be enough to power everything in your home then just installing a few solar panels and using some solar energy is a good way to find out how much solar energy your property can generate.

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