Most people decide to get a solar power system for their home because they want to save as much money as possible on utility costs while minimizing their impact on the environment.
To determine how many photovoltaic solar panels you should install to meet these goals, you need to know how much energy your household uses over the course of a year, the azimuth (the angle of the sun) and number of hours your roof or property receives full sun, as well the slope and usable surface area.
One kilowatt produces 1,000 kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity. So the total size of the system will be based on the number of solar panels required to produce enough electricity to equal or exceed your power usage. In order to meet that, you must first have a record of your entire kwh consumption for twelve months provided by your utility company.
Solar energy production is based on the panel size multiplied by the number of sun hours your roof receives. Solar panels average dimensions are 3’ by 5’. However, the power rating of panels typically varies from 250 watts to 320 based on size and brand.
This means that you should find out total square footage of usable roof space that is available for your solar panels to determine what size panels you will require for optimum performance. To do this you must be aware of the direction the building faces and how much sunlight the most favorable side receives in a day. The same goes for your property if you are interested in a ground mounted system.
All of this should be reviewed by a solar consultant who should then provide a personalized cost benefit analysis based on the homeowner’s unique needs preferences, energy usage and other factors. In some cases this analysis will show that a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) where the homeowner pays $0 for solar panels and installation to lock in a lower electricity rate is the best option. In other cases outright purchase where the homeowner owns the equipment so they can end up with zero electricity costs could make the most sense.
Don’t worry. The consultants at Solar Energy World provide a detailed cost benefit analysis within the no-obligation quotes they develop at no charge for people interested in going solar. Our consultants have years of experience designing thousands of custom solar systems for Maryland homeowners. They are experts at helping consumers determine exactly the right brand and number of panels they need to reduce their carbon footprints while achieving optimum savings potential.
If you are interested in finding out if solar is right for you, please click here to schedule a free solar evaluation and to see our current special offers.
Written by Sharon Derby, Marketing and PR Director, Solar Energy World, LLC