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Solar Panels for Your Home: How to Size Them Perfectly Every Time


Solar Panel Sizing: Everything You Need To Know

Ontario ranks ninth in the country for Installing a rooftop solar panel power system. Some of the finest solar power incentives for a photovoltaic system are to be found in this province. Moreover, they meet the criteria of sound investing, as you can generate a great deal of savings from solar, and they are environmentally friendly. Although sunlight is a totally renewable and sustainable source of energy, it’s important to ensure your solar setup is completely up to par. Therefore, you will want to size your solar panel system completely so that you’re not wasting precious energy. This will allow you to have enough energy without overspending, due to oversizing your setup at home.

Figuring out the number of solar panels that will be needed to effectively power your home is one of the top frequently asked questions lately. That’s why SolarUP has created this guide to help you figure out the number of solar energy panels that are required for powering your home and some other factors to take into consideration when determining the size of your solar panel system, such as calculating the total energy requirements of your property, estimating system size, and selecting panels that will help you get the full benefit of your current solar panels installation, will be thoroughly described for you on this page.

How to Determine Your Solar Panel Needs

Before buying the first set of solar panels you see, make sure you do your due diligence, know how much energy you’ll need, and choose the right type for your home.

There are numerous factors that can affect the power your home requires, such as square footage, the number of people living in the house, along with the different appliances used in the house. This can be difficult to calculate without some help from a professional company, so be sure to consult with the Ontario’s expert Solar Panel Power Technicians at SolarUP.

A reasonable estimate for roughly how much power a typical home requires is somewhere between 20 and 25 solar panels. Although, if you’re going to determine the precise number of panels that would be necessary for your home, you should consider these factors: the energy usage of your home, the number of peak daylight hours(HSP) in your geographic area, and your solar panel power rating.

NOTE: The cost of acquiring enough solar panels to supply to your home impacts how much you will have to pay for it.

How Much Electricity Does Your Home Use? 

There are two primary ways to look at the energy consumption of your home. The first way, when looking at your electric bill, is to look at the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) you use each month and per year for your home. Alternatively, if you want to know the daily rate of use in your home, divide the annual cost by 365. You can also view the utility bill usage summary online by accessing your online account with your energy provider.

It is more complicated to quantify hourly power consumption of each appliance at your home, due to the individual climate conditions and applications in the home. It’s crucial to keep in mind that electricity usage fluctuates in accordance with your location and uses. For example, if you live in areas that are known to be warmer (to the south), your residence is likely to have a greater need for air conditioning. If your house is in a region where it’s colder, you will be using more heaters during the winter to sustain your utility bill. This is a particularly important aspect to take into consideration for sizing any residential solar panel system and be it off Grid or Grid hooked.

Where is Your Home Located?

The geographical location of your house in relation to sun exposure will need to be taken seriously when determining how many solar panels you will need for your home; additionally, the location of your home must be taken into account.

Solar panels work more efficiently if they are directly exposed to sunlight. This is likely to be the case most prominently at the peak hours of sunlight. So, depending on your geographic location, the peak hour of sunlight can vary. The impact of peak hours of sunlight can be directly translated into the amount of energy produced by your solar panels. Apart from the GEO location of your house other factors that could affect the sunlight exposure like any sort of shading or blocking from nearby structure or trees can also affect the power generation capacity of your solar panel system and needs to be accounted for while estimating the Solar Power generation.

The definition of a peak hour, or an HSP (equivalent hours of sun at 1000 W/m2), is the length of time of sunshine with an intensity value of 1000 W/m2, which is equivalent to the maximum value of solar power that can be attained on Earth’s surface. However, please note that HSPs do not mean the same thing as the number of hours of bright sunlight throughout the day. As such, where your home is located, it may not be too far off from receiving anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of daylight daily. Nevertheless, the number of daylight hours peaks at roughly 4.

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need for Your Home?

To know how many solar panels you need for your home, you should know the size of your roof and the length of time it receives sunlight each day. Solar panels are an excellent means for generating renewable energy. However, not all homes can have solar panels. If your house roof is not big enough to accommodate the required solar panel to generate enough energy then this might not work for you optimally. It is necessary for household owners to know how many solar panels are required at home and whether their roof can accommodate these panels,before investing in this technology.

Solar Panel Sizing

To determine how many watts of solar power are needed to optimally power your property, the most significant factor in calculating your average energy usage over the course of a year. As discussed previously, your hydro bill can let you know your average energy consumption in kilowatt-hours. Once this figure has been calculated, it is possible to compute your annual energy usage by adding up the amount shown over a year’s time.

NOTE: It is recommended that you do not make the mistake of multiplying 1 month by 12, as electrical energy consumption can vary significantly across 12 distinct months.

To calculate the size of the solar power system that you’ll need, you can use the following equation:

Size of system needed (kW) = yearly energy use (kWh) / annual equivalent full sunlight hours (h)

(Annual average ‘equivalent full sunlight hours’ in Ontario = 1,166 h)

For example, when adding up your annual hydro bills, you discovered that your home uses roughly 10,000 kWh of electricity over the course of a year. Using the formula “consumption amount ÷ annual sunlight hours” with your consumption count divided by the yearly sunlight hours, you will need an 8.58 kW solar power system for your residence.

10,000 kWh / 1,166 h = 8.58 kW – Size of solar system in units of kW

Physical Sizing

Now you are aware of how watts function in relation to square feet (sqft), you can proceed in determining the minimum physical area of your residential solar panel system. For the square footage required for the system, you can convert watts to square feet by using the conversion factor

On average, a single panel is approximately 18 square feet in area (with some additional room for mounting and spacing, which is required by installation) and generates roughly 300 watts of electricity

The equation used to determine the physical space that your solar system requires, can be calculated using the following equation:

Physical space required = size of system needed (in kW) / size of panel (in kW) * physical size of panel (in sqft)

(Average size of panel = 0.3kW, average physical size of panel = 18 sqft)

Using the previous example listed above for determining the size of your solar system in units of kW = 8.58 kW, you would then input the above calculation to determine the square footage you would need to install your solar system to your home, which would be 515 sqft.

8.58 kW / 0.3 kW * 18 sqft = 515 sqft

(Note that 300 watts equals 0.3 kW)

If you plan on installing a solar panel system on your roof, it will be crucial that you already know that:

  • A North-facing roof is the least effective, engaging panels on the north and south sides is considered OK; however, for best performance you should set your panels facing south.
  • Depending on the condition of your house’s roof, you may need to replace your shingles (or pretty much the entire roof) before installation – since panels are guaranteed for up to 25 years!

Similarly, if you are installing solar panels on your property, you should also consider the fact that:

  • These systems have a higher initial expense due to the fact that trenching, pouring, and mounting would be required.
  • These systems can also be streamlined. Considering, you can quickly determine where they’ll go to determine optimal (South), optimal orientation (~45°), and eliminate as much shade as possible.
  • Lastly, solar systems installed on the ground experience fewer operational issues and have longer service lives.IRRs and NPVs.

Most residential homeowners in Ontario have solar panels installed on the roofs of their homes, due to the limited space found in inner-city areas. However, rural homeowners may also install solar panels on the steeples of their buildings or off of their property, as there is more space available for use.

Before working on any massive project, it is important that you study and understand the location. When building solar panels for your home, it is important that you get the right environmental permitting services like Transect that will help you make data-driven decisions.

Learn everything you need to know to get started with solar power

Hopefully after having read this content, you are better able to ascertain whether a solar power system is right for you and your home, taking into account your home’s geographical location. Be sure to carefully consider the pros and cons of each of the varieties of home solar panels on the market before making your final decision. As such, if you’re thinking about installing solar panels for your home or business, we encourage you to do your research before making a big decision. Still, we recognize that this can be a troublesome process to undergo. For this reason, it is essential that you have a reputable company like SolarUp to guide you and to get the most out of your solar panel system by using it to its full potential.

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