Top 10 Questions About Solar Panels
Before you make the decision to go solar power for your home,
there are a number of things to know.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
Going solar is a booming trend. The reason? Many homeowners are taking advantage of this sustainable energy option now that prices are affordable and the tax credits and incentives are still strong. There are several factors you have to review when it comes to installing a solar energy system in your home.
Figuring out how many solar panels you need is an important first step. Ask yourself what your overall goal is for going solar. Are you hoping to cut back on your energy spending? Completely zero out your utility spend? Equip your home with a more sustainable, eco-friendly system?
Your home energy demands and desired solar energy generation will impact how many panels you actually need to install on your roof.
Additionally, your state’s net metering policy for grid power will play a major role in your panel needs. Some states vary on what happens when too much or too little solar energy is produced. In California, the net metering policy means that any kWh of energy your home’s solar panels generate over the utility demands of your household gets credited back to you in equal measure. Every one kWh that is transferred back to the grid results in a credited kWh should you go over your energy production at other times (at night, during stormy weather, etc.).
Take a Look at Your Utility Bill
Another factor that will help you determine the number of solar panels you need is your current utility bill. Based on the average spend, you can calculate how many kWh’s of power your home is using over the course of a year (when looking back on 12 months of spend).
You will need to estimate how many kWhs of solar energy will be produced each year by each solar panel you plan to install on your roof. You can get a general idea of this number by looking at statistics. It ranges anywhere from 2.8 kWh per day per kilowatt in more cloudy areas to 4.8 kWh per day per kilowatt in areas like California and Arizona according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratories.
What About Different Types of Panels?
It is also important to consider that some solar panels are more efficient than others. For example, American made solar panels are known to be highly efficient and more durable, which means solar panels would require less space and provide optimal output. If you want to maximize your energy production while minimizing the impact to your roof and aesthetic of your home, high-efficiency panels may be more important to you.