How Much Solar Energy Can My Home Generate?January 30, 2021
With the rising cost of electricity, you might wonder about solar panels for your home.
You may want a solar panel system for your existing home. Alternatively, you may want a solar system for your next move.
Either way, solar panels enable you to generate your own power. What’s more, they give you energy freedom.
The electrical grid is growing increasingly antiquated. What’s more, we face escalating climate extremes every year. With a rooftop solar power system, however, you’ll have increased peace of mind.
With a rooftop solar system, you can overcome these kinds of issues. However, it helps to know how much power a rooftop solar system might generate.
To learn more about how much solar energy your home can generate, keep reading.
Facts About Solar Energy
In relatively recent years, solar energy has become the most affordable source of energy in the world. Now, it narrowly beats out its competitors, such as wind power and fossil fuel.
The sun generates 89 Petawatts of potential solar energy. Resultantly, it’s the most abundant source of power available on Earth.
In the United States, there are more than 2 million solar systems. Homeowners installed one million of these systems between 2017 and 2020. As you can see, the popularity of home solar power systems has taken off in recent years.
However, it took 40 years for home solar power installations to reach the 2 million installation mark. Nevertheless, solar management experts forecast that homeowners will install 4 million systems by the year 2023.
Indeed, solar power installation is increasing at a rapid pace. Today, it’s the fastest-growing energy resource in the world.
There are a few reasons why solar energy is becoming more popular. Most of the reasons have to do with the scientific community’s innovative solar power breakthroughs.
For example, the efficiency of solar panels is increasing. What’s more, the cost of solar power systems is rapidly declining.
How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?
It may surprise you to learn that you can figure out how much solar power you need in about two minutes. It’s easy to do using the PVWatts solar power calculator.
It must be magic, you say? Well, not quite. Actually, the PVWatts solar power calculator uses weather data.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory created this free online tool. It uses historical weather data from your area. With this information, it calculates how many solar panels you need to meet your yearly power requirements.
The PVWatts calculator computes several variables in mere seconds. For instance, it estimates the power that you can generate based on the path of the sun. It also provides you with an estimate based on the slope of your roof—more on that in a moment.
In total, you can enter nine variables into the PVWatts calculator. However, you can get started using just your home address.
You’ll also need to add a few simple measurements. With this information, you’ll receive an estimate that’s pretty close to your home’s solar potential.
To begin, you’d simply enter your home or business address in the “Get Started” field. Next, you’d just follow the prompts and answer a few basic questions. After following the instructions, the calculator will provide you with the amount of electricity a medium-sized solar system might produce for your home in a year.
This information is helpful. However, you also want to make a slightly more detailed calculation.
Exactly How Much Solar Power Do I Need?
There are several equations that you can use to calculate how many solar panels you’ll need as well as how much power you’ll need for your home. Here, we’ll give you an example of one such method.
The typical US home needs a 6.62 kW solar system. This amount of solar power will match the 9000 kW of energy used by most US homes.
Typically, a solar panel creates 320 Watts of power in ideal conditions. With this in mind, you can use the following calculation to estimate the power requirements for your home:
.320 kW (watts per panel) ÷ 6.62 kW (solar energy needed) = 20.69 Panels
Next, you’ll round the results up to the next whole number. Using our example, that equals 21 panels. Of course, you would substitute your power needs for the “solar energy needed” part of the calculation.
No home fits the profile of the average home exactly. For this reason, you’ll need to make your own rough estimate of your power consumption needs.
A lot goes into choosing the right solar system for your home. You’ll need to estimate your energy requirements.
However, you’ll also need to consider your roof’s available square footage. You’ll also need to think about the wattage of the solar panels that you plan to purchase. Furthermore, you’ll need to consider the amount of sun that your solar panels will absorb.
Solar Power Considerations
It’s best to choose a custom-designed system for your home. A custom-designed system will help you to meet your energy needs efficiently. You won’t enjoy the same performance with a one-size-fits-all solution.
You can choose a customized home solar system as large or small as needed. However, it’s helpful to know that a larger solar panel system produces the most electricity. A larger system will also reduce your carbon footprint more so than a smaller home solar power system.
There are many kinds of solar panels available for your home. However, they’re not all created equal.
Manufacturers rate solar panels based on the watts that they generate. The higher the solar panel rating, the more power your solar system will produce.
Today, most home solar panels have a rating between 250 and 400 Watts. However, solar panel output varies based on panel size and how efficiently they convert sunlight into power.
Getting the Most Out of Your Solar System
The solar panel rating will help you to determine power output. However, the output of your solar panel system will vary based on other factors.
Again, the power that your solar system generates will depend on the efficiency of the panels. However, it will also vary based on the temperature sensitivity of the panels that you purchase. Furthermore, the shading around your home will affect how efficiently your solar panels can collect energy.
The angle of your roof will also impact the performance of your solar panels. However, the direction of your solar panels will affect power collection even more so.
Ideally, you’ll want to face your solar panels South. Also, you’ll want to install them at an angle of 30° to 45°.
You’ll also want to find a balance between cost and value. High-efficiency solar panels cost more than those that are less efficient.
Still, you may want to assess the upfront cost of solar panels versus the power that they’ll generate. Furthermore, you’ll need to consider this point over the lifecycle of your solar installation.
After making this assessment, you may even want to install a smaller solar system and continue to draw part of your power from the electric grid. Alternatively, you might consider storing power with a solar-powered battery.
Making the Most of Solar Power
You can increase the value of your solar system with a solar-powered battery. A solar-powered battery can help you to maximize the electricity that your solar system retains. Furthermore, it will give you even more control over your energy needs.
You can use a solar-powered battery to store excess energy until you need it. Occasionally, you might find a need for extra power. Alternatively, you might need to use your battery when the sun sets.
In these instances, your system will draw power from the battery. A solar-powered battery is an elegant solution for storing excess electricity.
Either way, a solar power system can give you peace of mind. Even if you don’t use solar power as your primary energy source, it’s a great backup power solution.
You never know when a power outage might occur. Today, you can use a backup solar system to keep important circuits powered on during an outage.
For example, a backup solar power system could enable you to run four 15-to-20-amp, 120-volt circuit breakers. Your reserve power might last for 8 to 12 hours. That’s just enough power to keep important things going until the sun comes up again in the morning.
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Now you know more about how much solar energy your home can generate. However, you can always learn more about managing your home. Check out our blog to learn more great facts about all things home and moving.
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