“How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?” is the most important question you should ask when thinking of making the switch to solar energy. A typical home needs between 20 to 24 panels in order to reach and maximize 100% efficiency.
Here are some factors you need to consider for a more accurate calculation of your solar panels.
1. Check your energy consumption
Check out your previous electricity bills to determine your monthly and yearly electricity consumption. Knowing how much energy your home uses will help you give the best estimate for the number of solar panels you’ll need.
Once you’ve established the amount of electricity your home uses, you’ll now have a better understanding of the amount of kWh produced annually. This is usually dependent on 3 factors: roof conditions, local peak sunlight hours, and solar panel type.
2. Assess your roof conditions
Ideally, larger homes tend to consume more electricity and will need more solar panels. However, this is not always the case. Roof conditions vary and may limit the number of solar panels that can be installed in your home.
We have listed some of the possible limitations:
- Existing fixtures such as chimney, rooftop air conditioning unit, or skylight
- Asbestos roofs
- Roofs in shady places
But don’t worry if you have limited roof space! You can always get high-efficiency panels for your home. These panels have higher power outputs and can still cover your energy needs despite installing only a few.
3. Figure out the amount of sunlight your home receives based on your geographical location
Solar energy is dependent on sunlight and location. After calculating your electric consumption, you should determine how much sunlight your area receives. Knowing your sun peaks tells you how many kWh of electricity 1 kW of solar panels will produce in your area in a day.
Ideally, if you live in a sunny place like Arizona or New Mexico, installing a lot of solar panels could be a great idea! The energy output is greater and higher since there is more sunlight available. However, locations around the world that receive less sunlight can still yield the same maximum energy efficiency.
4. Choose a specific type of solar panel
The best type of solar panels for your home depends on your purpose and intent. You can choose from three common types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels.
Monocrystalline is the most expensive solar panel. It is made from pure silicon. It is also the most efficient among the three and reaches 20% efficiency.
If you want a mid-range option, polycrystalline is for you. It is a newer option made from fragments of silicon crystals melted together and is 15-17% efficient.
You can also go for thin-film solar panels if you want the cheapest option. It is the newest type and lets you save on installation costs due to it being extremely small.
In conclusion, monocrystalline and polycrystalline are suitable for residential properties. Whereas thin-film solar panels are more suitable for commercial properties that can’t handle the additional weight.