When thinking about adding solar panels for your home, the first question you may ask yourself is: how many solar panels will I need to power my home? Simply put, it depends. Solar panels are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the amount of panels you need depends on a wide variety of circumstances.
To help you estimate how many panels you could need to potentially save money on your monthly electric bills, consider the factors below.
Factors Impacting the Number of Solar Panels Your Home Could Need
Our Skyline Smart Energy experts will need to consider multiple factors when developing your customized solar panel system.
Your Home Size
To estimate how many solar panels you could need, it’s important to consider the size of your home. Consult the table below for a general range of the amount of solar panels you could need to potentially save money based on home size.
|Size of Home
|Average energy consumption
per month (in kWh)
|1500 sq. feet
|14 – 17
|2000 sq. feet
|19 – 25
|2500 sq. feet
|24 – 30
|3000 sq. feet
|27 – 38
*Numbers in the table above are estimates based on data from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This table is for approximation purposes only. Accuracy not guaranteed or implied.
Note that solar panels differ in the amount of watts they produce. At Skyline Smart Energy we install tier-1 monocrystalline solar panels with premium energy efficiency to help you maximize your roof’s output potential.
Your Roof’s Sun Exposure
The amount of sunlight your roof gets can influence the amount of solar panels you could need. Factors like tree cover and the direction your roof faces determine how much sun might reach your solar panels throughout the day. Your geographic location also comes into play here.
Your Geographical Location
You’ll want to consider how many hours of sunlight you can expect to receive in your area. This can vary by state, not to mention on inclement weather. While clouds, rain, and snow won’t bring your solar production to a screeching halt, they might affect solar panel output efficiency.
Your Current Energy Consumption
Many solar customers desire a system that generates equal to or close to the amount of energy they’re consuming each month. To get a feel for your current energy consumption, look at your watt usage over the last 12 months. Depending on your situation, you may need more or less solar panels to potentially reduce your bill.
Your Goal Electric Bill
It helps to have a target electric bill in mind to better determine how much solar power you could require to get there. In general, the more solar panels you have on your roof, the more solar power you could potentially generate. Having a goal electric bill in mind could help determine how much solar power you’ll need each month.
Your Home Appliances
Understanding your energy consumption requires more than looking at the wattage on your electric bill–it helps to know where those watts are being used. You can start by looking at the appliances you operate on a daily basis. How often do you wash clothes? Do you keep your house at a cool temperature year-round? Maybe you have a gaming system that your family plays on the weekend? Here are some appliances that tend to eat up the most electricity:
- Heating System
- Cooling System
- Water Heater
Like most homeowners, you likely use at least 4 out of the 5 appliances above on a daily basis. The reality is that modern-day living presents more opportunities to consume electricity than perhaps ever before. The good news is that solar energy could potentially mitigate the costs associated with a 21st-century lifestyle, and it’s more affordable than you might think.
The Size Of Your Solar Panels
The physical size of your solar panels will also play a role in determining the number that you need overall. At Skyline Smart Energy, our panels are typically around 70”x40”, which helps our solar professionals calculate how many panels will fit on your roof as a whole, in addition to the consideration of other factors.
Solar Panel Calculation Formula
Now that we’ve laid that groundwork, we thought you’d benefit from crunching a few numbers to potentially determine how many solar panels you might need for your home. Keep in mind that even when following this formula, it’s still not as good as what a Skyline Smart Energy representative can provide you when he/she visits your home. Their proposals reflect all the unique circumstances of your home. But using the following formula is how you can calculate your home achieving a 100% offset of your current electric bill.
kWh per Month / (Daily Sunlight Average in Your State x 30) = kW Solar System You Need
Calculate Your Kwh Per Month.
The first step of the formula is to find your monthly kilowatt-hour usage. You can find this information on your latest power bill.
For our purposes here, we’ll use the national average monthly kilowatt-hour usage, which is 914 kWh.
Determine The Average Daily Sunlight In Your State.
As we’ve mentioned, the amount of sun hitting your roof can determine how many panels you could need. To ballpark this figure, find the average daily peak sunlight hours in your state. We used North Carolina, Skyline Smart Energy’s headquarters, for our example.
North Carolina receives an average of 4.71 hours of daily peak sunlight.
Plug Both Of The Figures Above Into The Formula.
Let’s crunch the numbers. We’ve taken the national average for monthly kilowatt/hour use (914) and divided by the product of the average amount of peak sunlight in NC (4.71) and 30 (141.3), the quotient of which brings us roughly to the following.
914 / (4.71 x 30) = 6.5 kW solar system
Convert Your Kw From The Equation Above To Total Watts.
We’re nearly there! Since 1 kW equals 1,000 watts, our next step is to multiply our kilowatt number by 1000.
6.5 kW x 1,000 = 6,500 watts
Divide Your Total Watts By The Wattage Output Of One Solar Panel.
Lastly, we must divide the number of watts of the system by the number of watts one solar panel generates. Skyline Smart Energy uses premium 320-watt panels, so we’ll use that.
6,500 / 320 = 20.3 Solar Panels
To Recap: If you consume 914 kWh per month in North Carolina, you could need a 6.5 kW solar system to potentially offset 100% of your current electric bill, which is equal to about 20.3 solar panels.
Ask A Solar Expert
Ultimately, the number of solar panels you could need to see potential savings is unique to you. Request a free quote today to determine how many panels you could need to see potential savings.
Frequently Asked Questions
The number of solar panels you need will depend on many different factors. These include your roof’s sun exposure, your current energy consumption, your goal electric bill and your home appliances. Ultimately, the exact amount of solar panels your home may need to see potential savings is unique to you. Our team will walk through each of these factors and determine the ideal number of panels needed to meet your energy goals.
Solar panel costs typically depend on the style and number of panels you select, current electricity costs in your area, and whether or not you qualify for any local rebates and incentives. Installation costs also factor in. However, depending on your panel efficiency, your region’s sunlight exposure, your home’s current energy usage, etc, you could potentially offset the cost of your system over the lifespan of your investment. Our system engineers will take all of these details into consideration to design a solar system that’s totally custom for your home.
Your potential savings depend on a variety of factors, including where you live and how much energy your home currently consumes. Local utility rates, solar incentives, net metering policies and more can also impact your savings potential.
To make your solar journey as seamless as possible, Skyline Smart Energy offers $0 down, 100% financing on solar systems for qualified homeowners. Learn more about going solar for less.
Homeowners installing solar panels before the end of 2023 can potentially deduct up to 30% of the cost of their solar installation from their federal taxes. Learn how to take advantage of this solar tax incentive before its expiration.
While some locations may receive more direct sunlight than others, our high-performance solar panels need only be clear of debris to produce electricity for your home, regardless of where you live.
While performance issues and early wear and tear of your panels are highly unlikely, you can protect your solar investment and keep your system producing for many years to come with our generous warranty options.
Net metering gives you a way to store energy and use it when you need it. During peak sunlight hours, the average solar panel system produces more power than you and your family can use. The extra energy is fed back into the grid, and the utility can use it for someone else. You get credit for the energy you feed back into the grid. When needed, you can use that credit to get power from the grid during the night, or on cloudy days when your home needs more energy than your panels are generating. Net metering improves the economics of solar power significantly, and it’s why Skyline Smart Energy works with power companies that provide it.
For those utility companies that don’t offer net metering, installing a battery is a way to utilize more of the energy your solar panels generate to your benefit.
How quickly you can pay off your solar panel system depends on several factors including federal and state tax incentives you may be eligible for, whether you choose to pay off extra each month, and the size of your particular solar project.
The short answer is, yes, solar panels are worth the cost. Solar panels could potentially lower your electric bills, you take steps towards owning your power (not renting it), you can offset future utility bills with net metering, and home solar panels could potentially raise the value of your property.
See If You Qualify To Go Solar Today
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- $0 Down Payment
- Up To 25 Year Performance Warranty