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How Many Solar Panels do I Need to Run an Entire House?

How Many Solar Panels do I Need to Run an Entire House?

How many solar panels does a typical home require? How many solar panels will I need for a three-bedroom house? How many solar panels do I need for a home of 2000 square feet? These are all common concerns for a potential solar homeowner. To determine how many solar panels you’ll need for your home, you must first determine your goals.

Are you wanting to minimize your carbon footprint? Or maximize your return on investment? How about saving as much money as possible?

For most people, they invest in solar panels to save money while also reducing their environmental impact. 

To calculate how many solar panels you need, you need to know:

  1. Your average electricity requirements
  2. Your current energy consumption in watts
  3. Your local climate and amount of sunlight
  4. The efficiency of the solar panels you’re considering
  5. The physical size of the solar panels you’re contemplating

How much solar power will you need?

You first need to calculate your home’s average energy requirement by looking at your past utility bills. Note: If you work with an experienced solar installer, they will handle all these calculations for you. However, if you want to do this on your own, use this simple equation to determine the solar system size you will need:

DC Solar System Size (kW) = Average daily energy usage (kWh) / Hours of sun per day (h) * 1.15 efficiency factor

How many hours of sunlight can you expect in your area?

The peak sunlight hours for your specific location will have a direct impact on the amount of energy your home solar system will produce. For example, if you live in Toronto you can expect to have a greater number of peak sunlight hours than if you lived in Thunder Bay. This doesn’t mean a Thunder Bay homeowner can’t go solar; it just means the homeowner would need more panels.

Simply look online or follow this link to determine your city’s average sun hours per day.

What affects solar panel output efficiency?

This is where the quality of the solar panels comes into play. Not all solar panels are the same. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels (most commonly used in residential installations) range in wattage from about 150 to 370 watts per panel, depending on panel size and efficiency (how well a panel converts sunlight into energy), as well as cell technology.

Because of the wide range of quality and efficiency, it’s difficult to say which solar panels are best for you or how many you’ll need for your home. The main takeaway is that the more efficient the panels are, the more wattage they can produce and the fewer panels you will need on your roof to produce the same amount of energy. Consult with our team at GoSolar Toronto for a free site estimate.

What is the effect of solar panel size?

Solar panel size and number are important considerations if you have a small or unusually shaped roof. With a large usable roof area, you may be able to sacrifice some efficiency and purchase larger panels (at a lower cost per panel) to achieve your desired energy output. However, if your usable roof area is limited or partially shaded, using fewer smaller high-efficiency panels may be the best way to generate the most power in the long run, ultimately saving you more money.

Typical residential solar panel dimensions today are about 65 inches by 39 inches, or 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet, with some variation among manufacturers.

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