More and more homes throughout the country are switching to solar power, and it’s no wonder why. Solar power can nearly eliminate your energy bills and pays for itself after eight years, on average. Here’s how to calculate the number of solar panels you need.
How Much Energy Do You Use?
Refer to your three most recent electric bills and calculate your average usage per month. This will give you a good starting point to determining your kilowatts per month. Depending on where you live (in cooler areas where the air conditioning isn’t required or hotter areas where central air is on frequently), your power usage could be anywhere from 200 kWh to 2000 kWh.
The national average is 900 kWh, so we’ll use that number in our example calculations to show you how to determine your monthly solar needs.
How Much Sunlight Do You Get?
Just as your location determines how much energy you use each month, geography dictates how much sunlight you’ll receive. Los Angeles residents will see more hours of sunlight than Buffalo residents, for example. The fewer peak sunlight hours your area has, the more solar panels you’ll require to meet your energy needs.
Check out the Renewable Resource Data Center for sunlight information in your state or city.
Doing the Math
With your monthly average kWh and peak hours of sunlight, use the following formula: monthly kWh / (peak hours of sunlight x 30 days). We’ll use 900 kWh as an example and use four for the average peak hours of sunlight. In that case, it’s 900 / (4 x 30), or 900 / 120 = 7.5 kW. Next, multiply your kW by 1000 to determine how many watts you’ll need. In our case, 7.5 x 1000 is 7,500 watts.
Finally, you need to divide your watt requirement by the average output of a solar panel. While this number is variable, 250 watts is fairly standard. We’ll take our 7,500 watts and divide it by 250 watts, meaning our example home requires 30 solar panels.
Now that you know how to calculate the number of solar panels you need, contact us at NM Solar Group for solar energy in Albuquerque, NM. We’re here to help you help the environment (and your electric bill).