How Many Solar Panels Do I Need? - StraightUp Solar

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

03.26.2020

Have you ever wondered how many solar panels you would need for? Well the answer is it depends on your energy usage, roof space, and your renewable energy offset goals. 

Obtain Your Energy Usage

 

The first step is to gather your past 12 months of energy usage from your utility provider. Month by month data are preferred to determine your energy patterns throughout the year.If you have not occupied the home or building for the past 12 months,  we can estimate energy usage based on your square footage and appliances in operation. That number determines the estimated energy needed to be offset by solar. 

Determine Your Production Possibilities

 

Once we know  your energy usage on a monthly and annual basis, we will make some assumptions to determine your production factor. Every situation is different, and our calculations take into account your specific conditions. We will look at the possible shading of the array, locational coordinates, the azimuth (orientation) of proposed solar panel placement, and the expected solar panel that will be used. If you are deciding whether you should think about a roof or ground mount you can look here. All these factors affect potential energy production. If you have optimal conditions your production factor will be higher, and if you have poor orientation or shading then your production factor will be lower. With net-metering and dual metering policies, we will work to get your solar design estimates as close to your energy usage as possible, or what makes the most financial sense for your situation. We will also recommend various equipment and panels to best suit your needs and conditions. 

A typical production factor ranges from 1.2-1.4.  The production factor is multiplied by the system capacity, expressed in kilowatts (kW), to determine the solar array energy generation in kilowatt hours (kWh).  This brings us back to annual electrical usage. An average home uses about 11,000 kWh per year. If this home had a production factor of 1.3 it would need a 8.46 kW solar array (8.46 kW= 11,000 kWh/1.3) to offset 100% of its energy with solar power. 

StraightUp Solar sells panels from 315 to 375 watts.  Most residential installations are installed with 315-320 watt panels. An 8.46 kW array is equivalent to 8,460 watts. To get the amount of panels needed for an 8,460 watt array, the total amount of watts is divided by the watts per panel. For example this array would consist of 26-27 panels of 315 watt panels (8460/315=26.86). 

How Much Space Do You Have?

 

Now that we know how many panels are needed, the question becomes, what will fit on the roof or area designated for the solar array? Solar panels are large, about 5.5 feet tall and 3 feet wide, which takes up quite a bit of space when strung together. Our Project Developers have the expertise to model what your home or business could look like with solar. They can factor in the building codes that local entities require for solar installations into their design. Their goal is to design a system that meets your energy goals in-line with existing codes and safety regulations. 

 

Our solar proposals are free and no-obligation, and would give you the best idea of what you would need to consider when going solar. Fill out the form below to see how you can get started today!

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