One question everyone asks when weighing their options with solar energy is, “How many solar panels do I need to power my home?”  The truth of the matter is that there are numerous variables and factors that come into play, but we can certainly apply a few rules-of-thumb to accurately gauge your solar needs. It usually doesn’t take an inordinate amount of solar panels to put a significant dent in your future energy bills, as well as save you money and energy in the long run. Let’s take a closer look at what determines how many solar panels you need.

Geographic Location

Weather is an undeniable factor when considering the efficiency of solar technologies. Even though solar panels can still harvest sunlight on cloudy days, they don’t run at peak efficiency. Luckily, if you’re based in the Midwest, you’ll find that this is a moderate region with roughly 200+ days of sunshine, which will provide plenty of energy.  Compared to Germany, which is the number one per capita solar country in the world, the Midwest receives almost twice as much sunlight annually!

The Size of Your House

The size of your home is a key factor in determining how many solar panels you will need. Larger homes typically use more energy than smaller homes due to lighting, heating & cooling, and many other factors. Generally speaking, smaller homes tend to not need as many panels, however the real breakdown comes in the actual energy usage of your home. Even if only a portion of your energy comes from solar energy, you can still save a tremendous amount of money for your future energy bills.

Current Energy Expenditures

Different households use different amounts of energy based on factors such as number of occupants and lifestyle choices. You must also factor in how conservative you are with your energy expenditures. If your home is inefficient or needlessly wasting energy, you may require more solar panels to offset your current lifestyle. Some people think that conserving energy means compromising on comfort, but in fact you can make your home even more comfortable by having an energy audit done and identifying problem areas that you otherwise overlook like leaks or gaps or faulty insulation. This goes hand-in-hand with generating your own solar power and should be investigated simultaneously.

Putting it All Together

A qualified solar technology professional will be able to help you put all of the pieces together to determine the appropriate amount of solar panels your home needs to reach your energy goals. The four main steps towards making this determination are as follows:

  1. Quantify your home’s annual energy requirements expressed in Kilowatt-Hours (kWh) from your utility bills
  2. Determine how much roof or ground space you have available for solar panels (south-facing is best for this hemisphere, but east and west also produce high amounts of power)
  3. Get an energy audit done with a certified professional and improve those problem areas
  4. Select the best solar technology for your situation and prepare to save big!

Determining the optimal number of solar panels can feel challenging, but a qualified professional will be able to help you make the best decision. Because solar energy is a long-term investment, planning properly is key. So call a representative today to move towards energy independence, cost savings, and a cleaner environment.