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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need

Aug 24, 2021

10KW Solar Power System for Your Home

10KW Solar Power System for Your Home

Residential solar panels are a sizable investment for most homeowners. If you're considering going solar, you probably have a lot of questions about it, including how many solar panels you'll need to power your property.


In general, the average solar system for home consists of 20 to 25 panels, but the exact number you need depends on a variety of factors, including where you live, how much energy you typically use, and how much power your panels can provide to generate.


It may seem like a lot to consider, but it's pretty simple when you break it down. Let's look at three key factors that determine how many solar panels you need to power your home and an example of how to calculate the size of your system.


Your Physical Location

Your physical location is a key factor in the efficiency of your solar panel for the house. As you might expect, solar systems are best suited for sunny areas - which is why solar is so popular in states like California and Arizona. With more sunlight, each of your solar panels will produce more electricity. For our calculations, we assume that you get four hours of sunshine a day.


The location of your home is not something you can change, but it's still important to recognize that your area plays a role in how solar energy works for you. In short, your panels will operate at maximum capacity when they can absorb as much sunlight as possible.


Average Energy Usage

Knowing how much electricity you use on average per year, month and day is key to estimating the number of solar panels you'll need. Energy usage can vary widely, depending on the number of people in your home and how many appliances you have, and how often you use them.


Check your energy bill from last year to see how much electricity you used in all four seasons (hint: in kilowatt-hours or kWh). Once you have that number, you'll know how much solar energy you need to generate to meet your needs. For reference, the average U.S. household uses 10,649 kilowatt-hours per year. That's just over 29 kilowatt-hours per day.


Solar Panel Output

A single solar panel is capable of producing a certain amount of energy, depending on the conditions of your home (both the amount of sunlight you receive and the amount of shade covering your roof). This number is called the power rating and is measured in watts, with a typical panel producing between 250 and 400 watts. For example, you might purchase solar panels that are labeled as having an output of 325 watts. You'll need to multiply the panel's wattage by the number of hours of sunlight you get each day to see how much energy it will produce (more on this in the next section).


Putting it all together

Taking these variables into account, we can roughly estimate the number of solar panels you will need for your home. For this example, we'll use the average annual energy consumption, solar panel wattage, and hours of sunlight we mentioned earlier.

Let's say your property receives four hours of sunlight per day and you purchase 325 watts of solar panels. In this case, each panel would produce 1,300 watt-hours (or 1.3 kWh) per day. Assuming your energy usage matches the average of 29 kWh per day, you would need 23 325-watt panels to provide enough power for your home.

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