An average 2,000 square feet home in the U.S. uses approximately 1,000 kWh per month of power( about 32 kWh per day). Since the main thing that determines how many panels your home requires (besides your usage) is the amount of sun that falls on your house, you’re in luck! In sunny Florida you will need fewer panels to produce the same amount of power, as say, in Maine.
How individual solar panel efficiency affects the number of solar panels you need
If you use more efficient panels with higher panel wattage the number of solar panels required to cover the same amount of energy consumption will be less.
Over the last 40 years, the average size of an American home has increased by almost 1,000 square feet to around 2600 square feet. These differences make it difficult to determine how many panels are needed to power the average house.
While many factors are involved in determining how many solar panels are needed to power your home, there is a basic formula. Gregg Garrison, general manager of Northeast Solar in Hatfield, MA. Has given the following guidelines regarding the number of panels to power both electrical and hot water requirements.
Garrison stated that the typical home is approximately 1,500 square feet, with electrical costs of about $100 per month, and would generally require about16 panels to cover electrical power needs. That said, many homes consume a greater amount of electricity, such that a home may require anywhere from 20 to over 30 panels.
What affects the number of solar panels necessary to power your house?
Depending on what direction your house is situated – north/south or east/west, you will have more or less sunshine available to you to convert into solar power. Whether you use electricity or gas for heating is another factor, as well as the average heating and cooling needs in your area. The other primary factor is how much shade your home receives. Quite simply, the more shade on your roof, the less efficient your system will be, and the longer it will take to recoup the cost of your investment.
Naturally, another big factor that determines the number of panels are your energy usage habits. If you’re willing to make adjustments to your power usage you can enjoy even greater savings by installing a solar power system. For example, if you are looking to heat water for the average family of four, two solar thermal panels would be needed, Garrison explained. “The average hot water consumption is offset by about 70 percent.”
What’s the difference between photovoltaic panels and solar thermal panels?
The cells in photovoltaic panels generate electrical power by converting solar radiation (sunlight) into an electrical current. Photovoltaic (PV) cells are made of a variety of materials that include several types of silicon, arsenic and selenium.
Solar thermal panels are a closed system of tubes that contain a solution similar to antifreeze. Solar thermal panels collect solar heat and transfer it to hot water tanks.
More homeowners go solar as panel prices continue to fall
Seven years ago, the general cost of a 50-watt panel was $215, or $4.30 a watt. Nowadays, a 50-watt panel will run you between $50 and $75, or $1 – $1.50 per watt. No matter the number of panels a home requires, as prices continue to drop more and more homeowners are finding solar to be a smart, affordable option. Solar panels have dropped in price considerably over the years.