Solar for Homeowners

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

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Determining how many solar panels you need is the first step in setting up your solar energy system in Northern California, and will be the most influential factor in the installation cost.  Many of our customers are curious about the number of panels they can expect on their roof array.  While we don’t require customers to figure this out for themselves, here are three things that we at Synergy Power assess at each site to calculate how many panels will be needed for a project.

Three Questions to Consider When Calculating Solar Panels

What is your energy usage?

A good starting point in figuring out how many solar panels you need is to determine how much energy you consume.  Energy usage is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh).  To help visualize this measurement, if you plugged in 20 lamps that each held a 50watt bulb and left them on for one hour, they would use 1kWh of energy.  Your personal consumption will vary depending on the number of light fixtures, appliances, air conditioners, and electronic devices you own and can typically be found on your monthly electric bill.  For reference, the average Californian residence uses 6,684 kWh per year.  Ideally, a solar panel system would cover all of your energy needs and eliminate your reliance on the public grid, although this does not have to be the case if you choose otherwise.

How much sun does your roof receive?

The amount of sunlight you receive on your property is always important to take into account when dealing with solar panels.  It is important to note that the panels do not generate power from light, but specifically from direct exposure to the sun.  Here in Northern California, we are abundantly supplied with golden rays and many local cities can average over 260 days per year of sunshine.  This makes for an overall ideal situation for harnessing solar energy.  Individual rooftops, however, may be shaded for a section of the day by tall buildings, trees, or other large structures.  Even partial sunlight obstruction could affect how many panels are required to reach your kWh usage and should be taken into account.

What kind of panels are you installing?

A third factor to consider is the type of solar panels that you will be installing.  High-efficiency panels can harness a greater amount of energy from a smaller amount of space, but will cost more per panel.  Using less expensive panels may require a larger area for your system which would increase labor and installation costs.  To find the most economical solution, you will need to take into consideration the size of your roof and how much of it is available for the installation.

Synergy Power Does the Work for You

As you can see, there is no cookie-cutter answer as to how many solar panels a house or business needs to run.  Each of the factors mentioned above plays a part in careful calculations.  Fortunately, we don’t require our customers to write up their own supplies list.  Imagine a contractor expecting a homeowner to figure out how much lumber would be needed for a renovation!  Our experienced design team is trained to confidently and accurately determine how to generate the energy you need in the most cost-effective way possible.  We work with you to be sure that your expectations are being met every step of the way.  

Whether you’re in Stockton or San Leandro, Piedmont or Pleasanton; helping families and businesses make the switch to solar power is our passion, and we want to help you get the most out of your investment.  Contact us for your free quote.  We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about going solar.

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