Calculating How Much Solar Power You Need

Solar power provides a number of benefits for homeowners, the most significant of which is cost savings. Solar energy not only saves you money, it offers the most efficient and environmentally conscious type of power available today and reduces or eliminates your dependence on public utilities. Utah is particularly advantageous for solar energy, thanks to a high level of generation potential and favorable solar metering and access laws. Determining the number of solar panels you need can be a confusing prospect however, requiring several complex calculations.

Determine Which Type of System You Want

The type of solar energy system you select will influence the size requirements, to best meet your consumption needs. You have many options in selecting the type of panels you want, ranging from relatively inefficient to highly efficient systems. If you have limited space available for installing your panels, a more efficient system is required. You must also decide whether you want to remain tied in to the municipal power grid or cut ties with the grid completely. If you elect to remain on the grid, you can choose to add a battery back-up function to provide power in case of grid failure.

Determine Your Home’s Power Requirements

Your utility bills are one tool you can use to identify your home’s power consumption. If you have access to previous bills, review at least two years’ worth to derive an accurate estimate of your annual consumption in kilowatt (kw) hours. However, if you have moved or added (or subtracted) members to your household, there are more reliable ways to determine your future power needs. Energy.gov offers a calculator to help determine your energy needs based on the number and type of appliances and electronic devices you use. This helpful site also offers advice for calculating your power requirements based on lifestyle and usage patterns.

Consider the Potential System Location

The geographic location of your home and where you plan to place your solar panels also figure into the equation. Even the direction your home faces makes a difference. You can elect to mount your panels on the roof or in an alternative location, based on your property’s configuration. Another factor to know is the average number of solar days (based on average available sunlight) for your location each year. This indicates the amount of solar radiation that reaches the panels and further helps to identify how much energy each panel can generate.

Determining the number of panels your solar energy system requires can be confusing but very worthwhile, based on the money you stand to save. Intermountain Wind & Solar specializes in helping Utah residents save money and reduce their dependence on expensive public utilities. Their experienced professional consultants can help you determine the type and size of solar power system that will most effectively serve your home and save you money.