Guide for Homeowners: How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

November 21, 2022
By John Cole

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Going solar is becoming very popular as people are starting to get more familiar with the process and benefits of it. There are a few things you need to know when you're looking to go solar and one of them is how many solar panels you’ll need. We’re going to guide you through the process of figuring out how many solar panels you’ll need in order to power your home effectively. If you’re looking to do solar and want to know how many solar panels you need, then stay tuned. 

What Do You Need To Know Before Going Solar? 

There are a few things that you’ll want to know before you start the process of getting your solar panels. It’s best to find these things out before making any decisions, as they will help you narrow down the budget and type of panels and figure out how many you might need. Here are a few important things to take into consideration: 

how many solar panels do you need

How Much Energy You Use

Knowing how much energy you use is essential because solar panels typically put out a certain amount of energy each, so you’ll need to have enough panels to equal up to your necessary energy output.

 You can find out how much electricity you use by checking your energy bill and looking at the usage. Typically the bill shows usage for 30 days on it, and this can be used to calculate the energy usage you’ll need to get out of the solar panels. This is especially necessary if you are looking to power your entire home with a solar energy system.

Amount of Sunlight In Your Area

Your solar array is powered by the sun, so it'll need to be in an area that gets substantial sunlight in order for them to be powered. Making sure that you have a spot with minimal shading in an open area is perfect. This is typically why they’re placed on top of your roof, but some circumstances require you to put them on the ground. 

The Space You Have

You need a good amount of space to house the solar panels. You can typically place them on your roof or on the ground in an open area with good sunlight. You’ll need to find out how big the solar panels are so that you can see how that compares to the available space you have for however many panels you need. 

For example, if your roof is 500 square feet and each panel is 10 square feet, then the number of solar panels you can fit is 50 panels on top of your roof at these dimensions. 

How Many Solar Panels You Need to Power Your House

You’ll need to know how many solar panels you need to power your home. You’ll need to figure out how much energy you’ll need, usually in kWh or W. Once you find out how much kWh/W you use, then you can figure out how many panels you’ll need to match that. 

The solar panel company will figure this all out for you, though. They’ll figure out how many panels you’ll need based on your available sunlight, energy usage per month/year, and based on how much energy each panel can put out. However, there are some tools that you can use, like this calculator, where you can see how many solar panels you’ll need and other information regarding solar panels. 

How to calculate how many solar panels my home needs?

To calculate how many solar panels your home needs, you'll need to know the square footage of your roof and how many hours of sunlight your location receives annually. Most solar panel manufacturers will provide a calculator on their website to help you determine how many panels you'll need. But if you're more of a pen-and-paper person, you can use the following formula to figure out how much power your system will generate:

Panel number = kWh usage / production ratio / wattage

Remember that this is just a rough estimate; depending on factors like shade and roof slope, you may need more or fewer panels to meet your energy requirements. Additionally, many states offer incentives and rebates for citizens who install renewable energy systems in their homes, so research your state's incentives to see if you can get additional savings.

Number of solar panels

We can say, on average, we estimate that an average home needs between 20 and 25 solar panels to power the whole home. Be sure to use the tips above and take the factors above into consideration when finding out how many solar panels you need for your particular home and energy usage. 

solar panel installation

How many solar panels do I need for 700 kwh per month?

You would need about 14-16 solar panels to generate 700 kWh each month. This would be about a 5.02 kW size system. To determine the exact number of panels, you would need to factor in your location’s solar irradiance and average temperature, as these two values will influence the amount of electricity generated by each individual panel. If you want an even more accurate estimate, you can consider other factors, such as shaded areas or how many hours per day the solar panels will be exposed to direct sunlight.

How many solar panels do I need for 2,500 kwh per month?

For this solar system, you'd need 48-57 panels, depending on the wattage. To calculate the exact number of panels needed, you'll need to know the energy output of each panel and how much energy you're hoping to generate with your system.

Keep in mind that solar panel efficiency also varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you may need additional panels if your chosen system has a lower efficiency rating compared to other options on the market. Additionally, make sure that the inverter and other components of your solar setup are rated for the size of the system you plan to install. It is also important to take into consideration your roof space and the angle of your roof in order to determine the most suitable size for your system.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional solar installer who can provide you with an accurate assessment of the number of panels you will need for your system. They can also provide you with more detailed advice on which components to choose as well as any local incentives or rebates that may be available in your area.

Powering a Whole House Using Solar Power

Yes, you can most definitely power an entire home using solar power. Most people want to eliminate most or all of their energy bills. It is possible to get a few panels though to at least drop down your bill, though. 

To power your whole home using solar power, you’ll need to follow the tips above on estimating how many panels you need for the amount of energy your home uses. As we said, you can expect to need about 20 to 25 solar panels in order to power your home, more or less depending on the size and energy necessary for your home.

cost of solar panels

How Much Does It Cost To Go Solar?

Most people know that going solar isn’t exactly a cheap project, but it is a very rewarding project that’s worth it. Going completely solar costs about $15,000 on average or between $3,500 and $30,000. It depends on the model of the solar panel, how many panels you need for your home, and your energy usage. A solar panel system can cost between $3 and $5 per kilowatt, which can definitely add up at the end of the day but be sure to take advantage of any solar incentives that you can get to help with the initial cost. 

Is Solar Power Worth It? 

Solar power is worth it if you’re looking to drop down or eliminate your energy bill. It’s also sustainable energy which is another fantastic benefit of going solar. Going fully solar can be pricey, but there are major benefits to it, and there are also incentives to take advantage of to decrease the initial cost. If you’re not completely sold on it, let’s look at some benefits of going solar and determine if solar is worth the cost:

  • Sustainable energy option 
  • Decrease or eliminate energy bill
  • Little to no maintenance
  • No cost after the initial cost 
  • Great return on investment 
  • Increases property value over time

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, knowing how many solar panels you need is based on a few important factors that need to be taken into consideration. There are a few tools that you can use to find out how many panels you’ll need, or you can contact a solar company to help you get started with the process. Either way, going completely solar is definitely worth it despite the higher price tag and the initial cost. If you’ve been on the fence about going solar, then we recommend you go for it at Green Energy Geeks.

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