Solar Energy Guide: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

how many solar panels do i need

So going solar sounds like the way to go right now. You’ve been hearing all about your friends who have chosen to install solar panels and you’re starting to feel convinced to get them.

But you have tons of questions running through your mind: How many solar panels do I need? How much will these solar panels cost?

With solar energy increasing in popularity and over 2 million households and corporations installing solar panels, we want you to hop on the trend as well! Keep reading and we’ll answer all of your questions in the guide below.

How Many Watts Do I Currently Use?

The first thing you need to do to determine to figure out how many solar panels you need for your home solar power is to figure out how many watts you use on a daily basis. This may seem daunting, but it is basically just a way to know how much power is coming from each appliance you use.

When thinking about watts, you’ll have to take into account your air conditioning unit energy, any appliances that you plug in like the refrigerator or coffee pot, your heat or heated swimming pool, and anything else that requires power.

The easiest way to figure this out is by looking at your electricity bill and looking for the section that says “Kilowatt hours used.” Depending on what that average is (hourly, monthly, daily), you’ll want to divide it to make sure you are getting the kilowatts per hour that you use. If you do not see this on your bill, call your energy company to get this number.

The average home in America uses about 900 kWh per month which is about 1.25 kWh per hour. You can compare your usage to this number to see where you fall in your electricity usage.

Depending on how many kWh per hour you use will determine your solar panel needs. However, you do need to take into account the different weather patterns you may see in your area as well as any other inconsistencies that may occur since solar is not 100% reliable all the time.

Additionally, although it would be great to operate your home energy completely on solar, this may not be feasible. With these calculations, you are hoping to get to 100%, but again, other factors will affect this.

How Many Hours of Sunlight Do I Average in My Area?

If you’re asking yourself, how many solar panels do I need for my house, you need to take into account the weather patterns in the area.

How much sun does your house get? Are there trees blocking your home? Does it rain a lot where you are?

If you live in Florida, you probably don’t need as many solar panels to power your home as you would if you lived in Seattle. If you’re not sure how much sunlight you average, this guide is helpful with determining your sunlight info. 

Once you understand how much sunlight you will be getting on average, you need to multiply your kWh by 1,000 to show you the number of watts you will need. Once you have this number, divide it by the number of sunlight hours your home will average.

This number gives you an idea of how much energy each panel needs to produce per hour.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

Not all solar panels are created equally.

Solar panels differ on size and their ability to create power based on their wattage. Most solar panels range from 100 watts to 370 watts per panel.

Choosing what size you decide to use also depends on the shape of your roof and the size of your roof. If you have less space, you’ll want smaller more efficient panels. If you have a larger roof, you have the option of choosing higher wattage panels and less of them or less efficient panels but more of them.

Most residential panel sizes are around five feet by three feet.

Here’s the gist: The more efficient the solar panels are means you will need less of them on your roof.

How Much Will the Installation and Solar Panels Cost?

So now the big question: How much will all of these solar panels cost me?

The cost of your solar panel installation depends on a lot of different factors. You’ll have to take into account the size of the solar panels, their efficiency, the size of your roof, and the number of solar panels you are going to get.

Although this may seem like a large investment, over time your energy costs will decrease and you’ll be saving money every single month. Even better? When you file your federal taxes, you will get a tax break of about 30% of the original costs based on the installation of solar panels.

This means that right away, you’re already reducing your electric costs and getting closer to saving money. The tax break also includes the installation fees. Depending on where you live, you may also get local tax breaks as well.

Choose to Go Solar Today

Are you ready to go solar after reading this article? We’ve answered your questions of how many solar panels do I need and how much will this cost?

You know that in the end, investing in the installation of solar panels will be worth it.

If you’re ready to install solar panels, contact us at West Bay Energy to get started with the process. We’ll have you saving money no time!