How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
If you’ve considered solar panels for your Utah home, you might be curious about how many you will need to meet your power requirements. The answer varies for every family, but a few key factors can make a big difference. Before you contact a local solar installer, take a look at the details that matter when it comes to the number of panels you will need on your roof.
How Much Energy Does Your Home Use?
The first question you have to answer is how much energy your household typically uses. If you use more than the average home, you will need more panels. If you keep a lot of lights on, have a pool or hot tub to heat, or have to run the heater or air conditioner most of the time, your requirements will be higher. On the other hand, if you are a stickler for saving energy and often go around turning off lights in your home, you might need fewer panels than the average homeowner.
How Much Solar Insolation Does Your House Receive?
Another important factor that determines how many panels your home will require is solar insolation. This term describes the amount of sun your roof gets. If you live in an area that’s frequently cloudy or overcast, you will need more. Fortunately, states like Utah and Nevada receive plentiful sunshine. In particular, Salt Lake City gets about 220 days of sunshine per year, which is well above the national average. Of course, if your roof is shaded at all due to the presence of large trees or buildings, you need to take this into consideration.
While solar insolation and energy usage are important factors, a few other details can also help determine how many solar panels you need. For example, not all panels are of the same quality. In many cases, the least expensive panels on the market are also the least efficient. In addition, consider what percentage of your energy needs you want the solar panels to meet. For most people, it’s 100 percent, but this requires more panels than if you only expect 50 percent of your energy needs to be met. Finally, think about your budget, since this will help determine how many panels you can buy. Remember that once your system is paid for in a few short years, you’ll never pay power bills again.
These factors can give you a basic idea of the costs of installing solar panels in Utah and the Intermountain West. When you’re ready for more specific answers, contact Intermountain Wind and Solar. Also serving customers in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada, they are happy to schedule an appointment to discuss your needs and goals, and help you identify the correct number of solar panels for your home.