How Many Kilowatt Hours of Solar do I Need [10 KW or 2000 KW Solar System]?
Inspire Clean Energy
9 min read
category: Sustainable Living
If you are considering powering your home with solar, you are probably wondering, How many solar panels do I need? The answer is, it depends. How much power do you use? How large is your home? How many panels can fit on your roof? While you can do simple calculations to estimate how many solar panels you need, it may be best to contact a solar company. For now, let's dive into more detail about solar panels and how many solar panels power a house.
How do I calculate how much solar power I need?
The first step to calculating how much solar power you will need for your household is to determine the average energy requirements of your home. You can do this by looking at past utility bills and calculating the average. However, make sure to make special considerations for any times of the year when energy usage is considerably higher. If you do not have any large swings in energy demands from one time of the year to the next, it will be easier to determine how much solar power you will need. If you have large swings, you may want to consider whether you are hoping to make your home 100 percent off the main grid and 100 percent dependent on solar energy. You may want to plan your solar power needs to cover your peak usage times of the year. During the lower usage times of the year, you can always sell the excess energy generated back to the electrical company for a profit.
All that said, once you have determined your household's energy requirement, multiply that by the peak sunlight hours for the area where you live. For example, if you are using around 11,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year—which is pretty close to the average—you live in an area that gets a moderate amount of peak sunlight hours. Once you have that figure, go ahead and divide that number by a solar panel's wattage. Use both a low-wattage solar panel with 150 watts and a high-wattage solar panel at 370 watts to establish a range. Depending on the capacity and size of the solar panels you have installed, you may need anywhere from 17 to 42 solar panels to generate 11,000 kWh per year.
If you have any questions or concerns about how much solar power you may need for your household, you can always consult a professional solar installation company that will most likely be able to complete all these calculations for you. Additionally, many online calculators can assist with the math if you plan on doing most of the installation work on your own1.
How many solar panels does it take to make 2,000 kWh a month?
If your household uses somewhere around 2,000 kWh per month of electricity, and you are looking to see what size solar panel system you will need, the easiest way to determine this is to use an online solar panel calculator. With an online solar panel calculator, you can enter the number of monthly kilowatt-hours of electricity your household uses on average and then enter your zip code. By entering your zip code, the solar calculator will automatically calculate the hours of daily sun your area receives. However, to give some examples, if the average 2,000-kWh-per-month household were looking to install high-wattage solar panels from 315 watts to 375 watts, they would need a 14.34-kilowatt system consisting of anywhere from 39 to 46 solar panels, depending on average daily sun hours2.
How much energy does a family of four use per month?
In 2020, the average family of four in the United States used somewhere around 808 kWh per month. That works out to an average of 27 kWh per month. This average considers all variables, including home size and region of residence3.
How much energy is used in a 2,000-square-foot home per month?
The average 2,000-square-foot home in the United States uses around 1,000 kWh of electricity per month. That works out to be about 32 kWh per day. Again, this is an average that factors in energy use in all regions of the United States and in all climate zones where heating and cooling needs may differ dramatically4.
How much energy does a 10kW solar system produce per day?
A 10kW solar panel energy system produces around 10,000 watts of electricity per hour. Considering this, a 10kW solar panel energy system should deliver anywhere from 29 to 46 kWh per day, depending on where you live and how many hours of sunlight you receive each day5.
How much does a 10kW solar system cost?
The cost of a 10kW solar system varies by region. However, the average price of residential solar in 2021 averaged around $2.76 per watt. That would mean then, to install a 10kW solar panel system on your home, you are looking at an estimated $27,600 in total costs. This figure does not include local, state, or federal tax rebates6.
How many solar panels do I need to make 1,000 kWh a month?
The average 2,000-square-foot home in the United States needs about 1,000 kWh of electricity each month. As discussed previously, the average family of four requires around 808 kWh hours of electricity each month. Electric bills for 1,000 kWh a month vary significantly by region, but depending on your provider and the area you live in, you could be paying up to a few hundred dollars each month. This is why more people are considering investing in switching to their own privately owned solar powers to offset those monthly bills and turn a profit in some cases.
If you are a family of four that only requires 808 kWh of electricity each month but you install a 1,000-kWh system at your home, you can sell the excess electricity generated back to your utility provider in most regions of the country for a profit. If you own a 2,000-square-foot home in the U.S. and use 1,000 kWh of electricity each month, you could then possibly eliminate your monthly electric bill. But, how do you know precisely how many solar panels it will take to generate 1,000 kWh of electricity each month?
First, you need to know how much electricity you would like to produce each month to cover all your energy needs. We already have that figure since we are using 1,000 kWh as our example. Next, find the average daily energy demand by dividing the monthly energy demand by the number of days in a month. For this example, 1,000 kWh per month divided by 30 days in a month equals around 33.33 kWh per day.
For the next step, you will need to know the average number of hours of peak sunlight in your region. This is different from the average number of total daylight hours. Daylight hours include dawn and dusk or early morning and late afternoon sunlight hours where the sun may not be strong enough to produce a significant amount of electricity. Peak sunlight hours refer to when the sun is in its most prominent presence in the sky, and solar panels can produce electricity at near or full capacity. By definition, a peak sunlight hour is when one hour of sunlight is powerful enough to create an average of 1,000 watts of energy per one square meter7.
To find the number of peak sunlight hours for your area, you can do a quick internet search that will yield numerous results of databases and websites that can help you find that number for your area. For this example, let's say your area gets, on average, 6 hours of peak sunlight per day. Now take your average daily energy demand figure of 33.33 kWh per day and divide that number by the average 6 hours of peak sunlight you receive each day. Based on these calculations, your home will need to generate at least 5.56 kilowatts of electricity each day to reach 1,000 kWh each month. Many solar experts will then add 20 percent to this figure to compensate for unforeseen equipment, environment, and such. Adding 20 percent to 5.56 kilowatts would then bring the daily electricity generation needed to 6.67 kilowatts.
The last step is to take the 6.67 kilowatts and divide it by the wattage of the solar panels you are looking to install. For example, if you install 300-watt solar panels on your home, take the 6.67 kW or 6,670 watts and divide it by 300. This would mean that you would need 22.23 or 23 300-watt solar panels on your home to reach your goal of generating 1,000 kWh of electricity each month8.
Is a 10kW solar system enough to power a house?
Yes, depending on where you live, a 10kW solar system would be enough to power the average home of a family of four and enough to power the average 2,000-square-foot home in the United States. In some regions, like Seattle, Washington, it may not be possible to cover 100 percent of your energy demands. However, it is close enough that you can easily make the 10kW solar system cover all your energy demands with a bit of conservation.
Why is installing solar panels so expensive?
In general, solar panels tend to be expensive because of the materials required to produce them. Solar panels are constructed with massive amounts of high-purity silicon. Although some people may be able to install solar panels independently, the average person will most likely require qualified and professional solar installers to complete the installation9.
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