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Calculate Solar Panel kWp (KWh Vs. KWp Meanings). 1200 kwh solar system

Calculate Solar Panel kWp (KWh Vs. KWp Meanings). 1200 kwh solar system

    Mastering the Basics: Understanding kW vs. kWh in Solar Energy

    When setting up a solar system, you’ll see kilowatts (kW) and kilowatt-hours (kWh) ratings. The two measurements look similar. However, one measures the size of your system in terms of electricity storage, while the other measures power output over time. Both of these are relevant factors to your purchasing decision.

    The amount of electricity your system can store and the maximum power output your system can output are related. Still, kW and kWh are different measures that significantly impact your solar home planning.

    Once you understand the difference between the two, it’s easier to determine what you need for your home and what you can expect from the system you purchase.

    kW (kilowatt)

    A kilowatt is the unit of measurement for power output in your electrical system. One kilowatt is 1,000 watts; watts, in turn, are the product of volts multiplied by amperes. Because the number of watts the average generator or battery backup system can output is so high, manufacturers often measure power output in kilowatts rather than watts.

    A solar generator or battery backup system’s AC output rating describes the maximum amount of electricity it can provide instantaneously.

    Watts or kW can also measure how much electricity a solar panel can capture under ideal conditions. Solar panels typically have a rated power capacity in watts. EcoFlow solar panels have power ratings ranging from 100W to 400W.

    It’s crucial to remember that this is the maximum amount of solar energy a solar panel can capture in direct sunlight, at precisely the right angle, among other determining factors. It is rare for a solar panel to deliver 100% of its rated power — at least not consistently.

    In a solar energy system, the amount of electricity it can generate primarily depends on the number of solar panels, their rated power and efficiency, and environmental conditions.

    As the photovoltaic cells in solar panels capture sunlight, it converts the sun’s rays into direct current (DC) electricity. The more solar panels you have — and the higher their rated power and efficiency — the more energy you can capture.

    However, remember that rated power is not a guarantee or a constant. Environmental factors such as shading over your panels, the angle relative to the sun, and the hours of peak sunlight will all impact the overall amount of electricity your panels provide.

    Also, the number of solar panels you can add to your array is not infinite with solar generators. Every solar generator has a maximum capacity for converting and storing the DC power your panels capture. Typically this is expressed as the solar charging capacity.

    For example, EcoFlow’s DELTA 2 portable power station has a maximum solar charging capacity of 500W. That means you can connect up to two 220W bifacial portable solar panels, equalling 440W of rated power. If you connect additional solar panels to your array, the power they collect will potentially go to waste. Depending on the type of solar power system you use, connecting more panels than your setup is built to handle can damage your solar batteries and other balance of system components. It can even be dangerous.

    To select a solar power system that provides enough power to meet your home’s electricity needs, consider the following crucial factors:

    • Number of watts or kW your solar panels can capture (Rated Power x Number of Panels)
    • kW of DC power your system can safely convert and store (Solar Charging Capacity)
    • Maximum electricity output in watts or kW (AC Power Output)

    Manufacturers will express all of the above in watts or kilowatts.

    kWh (kilowatt-hour)

    Watts and kilowatts measure the amount of energy solar panels can capture and the maximum AC output of a solar power system. Watt-hours or kilowatt-hours (kWh) measure energy production over time.

    Kilowatt Output x Hours of Operation = Kilowatt Hours (kWh)

    With solar energy systems, portable power stations, and solar generators, kWh is most often used to measure electricity storage capacity.

    Whether you’re using a DIY solar power system with a solar battery or a portable power station/solar generator with the battery built-in, the capacity with be measured in wH or kWh.

    For example, the EcoFlow DELTA Pro has 3.6kWh of storage capacity out of the box and is expandable to 25kWh.

    One benefit of a top-of-the-line portable power station like the DELTA Pro is its expandable capacity. It can integrate with your household wiring to provide a Whole Home Backup Power Solution.

    With up to 3200W of solar charging capacity, the DELTA Pro can also be the foundation of a Whole Home Generator that can keep your house running off-grid indefinitely.

    Differences between kW and kWh

    The most obvious difference between kilowatts and kilowatt-hours is that kW measures electricity, while kWh measures electricity expanded over time.

    As outlined above, with solar generators, kW measures maximum electricity output and generation capacity, and kWh measures the maximum amount of electricity you can store.

    When choosing which solar power solution is right for your home, you should determine the total wattage of the appliances, HVAC systems, etc., that you want to operate simultaneously. Make sure you account for surge power to get devices up and running.

    • Identify the wattage requirements of your appliances. Survey the starting and running wattage requirements of the appliances and devices you plan to plug into the generator. You can usually find the wattage requirements labelled on the appliance, but we’ve also compiled the starting and running watts of typical household appliances in the table below.
    • Convert volts/amps to watts. If your appliance’s power requirements are in volts or amps, you can calculate an appliance’s running watts with this equation:

    Volts (V) x Amps (A) = ​​Watts (W)

    • Count the running watts of your appliances. Add up the running watts of the appliances you plan to use — does the total exceed the running watts listed on your generator? If so, consider buying a generator with more output capacity.
    • Factor in starting watt requirements. Identify the appliance with the highest starting wattage. Add that appliance’s starting wattage to the running wattage total.
    • Calculate the sum. That final number is the total starting watts you need from your generator. As discussed above, to avoid overloading your generator, do not exceed its starting watts rating.

    Starting and Running Watts of Typical Household Appliances

    Appliance Rated (Running) Watts Starting Watts
    Dishwasher 1300 1800
    Washing Machine 1200 2300
    Refrigerator/Freezer 700 2200
    Light Bulb 60-75 0
    Microwave 600-1000 0
    TV 500 0
    Toaster 900 0
    Vacuum 1440 2500
    Coffee Maker 1000 0
    Blender 300 800
    Clothing Iron 1500 0
    Dryer 5400 7000
    Toaster Oven 1200 0
    Curling Iron 1500 0
    Space Heater 2000 0
    Laptop 50-300 0
    20” Box Fan 200 350

    Identify how much electricity you need (kW) and for how long (kWh). Only then can you make an informed purchase decision of a solar power system that’s right for you.


    Kilowatts (kW) and kilowatt hours (kWh) sound similar. The metrics are related but different.

    Kilowatts (kW) measure electricity output, generation, and operating requirements by wattage.

    Kilowatt hours (kWh) measure electricity consumption and storage over time.

    Before buying a solar generator or home backup battery system, familiarize yourself with both kW and kWh. Having a working knowledge of each unit of measure should not only inform your purchase decision but also serve you well in monitoring and optimizing your system’s performance once it’s up and running.

    Check out EcoFlow today for off-grid and home backup solutions for you and your family.


    A 1kW solar generator provides at least 1 kW of maximum AC output (surge output may be higher) and a solar array that generates enough power to keep your solar battery charged. A grid-tied 1kW solar system comprises enough solar panels to generate 1kW of power under ideal conditions and a balance of system that connects to the grid when solar energy is insufficient.

    To find your electricity storage capacity in kWh, multiply the kilowatts you’ll consume by the time you use the system. If an appliance consumes 1 kW of electricity and you want to know the usage over three hours, multiply the rated wattage by hours of operation, equaling 3 kWh of electricity.

    A kilowatt measures the electricity available, consumed, or required at a given moment. A kWh measures electricity storage or consumption over time. With solar generators, watts and kW identify the maximum amount of electricity the system can output or generate. Watt hours and kWh measure how much electricity the system can store.

    EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.

    calculate, solar, panel, meanings, 1200, system

    Calculate Solar Panel kWp (KWh Vs. KWp Meanings)

    Solar power is certainly a great way to save on some electricity bills and move your home toward a greener, more sustainable future. That said, calculating your power needs and designing a solar system to match those needs can be confusing, and there are a handful of important factors to understand.

    One of these is the KWp rating or kilowatts peak. This is the rate at which your solar system generates energy at peak performance, such as at midday on a sunny day.

    But how do you calculate your solar system’s kWp?

    It can be challenging to calculate your solar system’s kWp, as it’s difficult to predict the exact power output of your system due to factors like component efficiency, temperature, location, and weather.

    There are some methods, though, and in this article, we’ll be covering the following:

    • The standard for determining kWp
    • Calculating the kWp of your system
    • Determining the kWp you need in your home
    • Examples of typical solar installations

    Calculating the correct kWp of your solar system can be confusing, but we’re here to help! Read below for our in-depth guide on calculating your solar needs and output.

    What is kWp in a solar panel?

    Put simply, kWp is the peak power capability of a solar panel or solar system. The manufacturer gives all solar panels a kWp rating, which indicates the amount of energy a panel can produce at its peak performance, such as in the afternoon of a clear, sunny day.

    kWp, or kilowatt peak of your panel, is calculated with a standardized test that all solar panel manufacturers must adhere to, with standardized radiance, temperature, and size. These standards are as follows:

    • Solar radiation of 1,000-watts/m 2
    • Ambient temperature of 25-degrees C
    • Clear skies

    This standardization makes it possible to accurately compare solar panels and their performance when choosing which to purchase for your needs.

    kWh vs. kWp

    kWh, or kilowatt-hours, refers to an appliance’s energy in one hour. A kilowatt equals 1,000-watts, so if you use a 1,000-watt appliance for one hour, you’ll be consuming 1 kWh of energy.

    If your solar system has a kWp of 1,000-watts, for example, your kWh to kWp ratio is 1:1. Of course, this is at peak performance, so the ratio is, in reality, a fair bit lower.

    A 1 kWp system operating at peak performance would supply you with one kilowatt of power, but this depends on many factors like efficiency, temperature, and weather, so these two metrics are certainly important but somewhat unrelated.

    How do I calculate my solar panel output?

    Calculating solar panel output is fairly simple but depends on your panels’ efficiency, location, and the amount of sunlight hitting the panels daily.

    For example, people living in equatorial regions will have far more sunlight per day than those closer to the poles.

    The first metric to check is your solar panel’s wattage rating. If you’re using a 300-watt panel, your panel will be kicking out 300-watts (maximum kWp) under perfect conditions, but again, likely a bit less on average due to temperature, weather, and placement.

    A simple formula for calculating solar panel output is:

    • Average hours of sunlight x solar panel wattage x 75% (for dust, pollution, weather) = daily wattage output.

    So, if you’re getting 6 hours of sunlight per day — on average — with a 300-watt panel, you’ll be getting 1,350 watt hours per day.

    How many units does 1kw of solar panels produce?

    Typically, one “unit” of solar energy equates to 1kWh, which is what a 1kw system is capable of producing in 1 hour under perfect conditions. This means you would again use a very simple formula, system capacity (1kw) x hours of sunlight.

    • Going back to our example above, 6 hours of sunlight multiplied by your system capacity (1kw) would give you roughly 6 units, or 6 kWh of energy per day.

    How many kWh does a house use per day?

    On average, the daily kWh consumption for an average home in the United States is just under 29 kWh hours. This accounts for using energy-heavy appliances like geysers and heating, which can be substantially reduced.

    This energy usage also depends on the size of your home, the building materials of your home, and the number of residents. Also, people in colder climates naturally use significantly higher power to warm their homes.

    How do I calculate kWh?

    Calculating the kWh usage of your home is simple: you take the total kWh on your electricity bill and divide it by the days the bill covers. Again, this may fluctuate during the year, but it’s a good ballpark figure.

    You can calculate the amount of kWh your appliances use based on how long they are on. For example, if you use a 1kWh appliance for 3 hours, that appliance will use 3 kWh per day.

    How do you calculate PV per kWh?

    Now that you know how much kWh your home consumes, you’ll naturally need to calculate how many panels you’ll need to generate sufficient power.

    Let’s assume your home uses 10 kWh per day. You’ll need at least 10kWh hours of solar panel output to match this, but most likely a lot more.

    This is because no solar panel — or solar setup for that matter — is 100% efficient, plus, this kWh rating is under perfect conditions, which are not guaranteed.

    • If you use 10 kWh per day, you’ll need at least 12-15 kWh of solar power output to account for losses.

    As an example, a 200-watt solar panel will produce roughly 200-watt hours per hour under perfect conditions, or 1,200-watt-hours (1.2 kWh) per six hours of sunlight.

    You’ll need at least ten of these panels to cover your daily energy usage with solar power completely.

    How many solar panels do I need for 50 kWh per day?

    As we’ve already discussed, solar panels are subject to efficiency issues, weather, sun hours, and location, so it’s almost impossible to give an exact answer. However, there are some rough calculations we can do to get a fairly accurate answer.

    Let’s assume you’re using 200-watt panels, with around 4-hours of sun per day(just to be safe), you’ll be getting roughly 800-watt hours (0.8 kWh) per day, per panel. This would mean you’ll need around 62, 200-watt panels to generate 50 kWh per day.

    How much power does 5kW solar produce?

    On average, a 5kW solar system will produce around 20kWh per day, depending on your location and sunlight hours per day. You may find the system producing more in summer months, 25-30kWh, and less in winter, 15-20kWh.

    Is 1 kW enough to run a house?

    Considering the average household in the United States uses roughly 29kWh per day, and 1kW of solar will give you 4-5kW of power with 5 hours of sunlight, this will not be enough for most homes.

    That said, it can help lower your dependence on mains power and save you money on electricity bills.

    It also helps to look at your energy requirements and usage and see where you can save on power. For example, using a solar geyser to heat water, a gas fridge, and a stove and heating your home with a fireplace or gas heater will save a ton of power overall.

    I have a 1kW solar system in my home that provides me more power than I need since I save on energy usage by using gas appliances and a solar geyser. This is enough to run lights, computers, a TV, and other small appliances.

    How much is a 30 kWh solar system?

    For a 30 kWh solar system, the cost depends on several factors:

    You can save quite a bit of money if you install the system yourself, but this is certainly tricky. Installation costs will vary widely depending on who does the installation for you, but for a system this large you can expect to pay around 10,000 for installation.

    In general, solar panels cost around two or three dollars per watt. Taking into consideration the quality of components you choose, installation, and your location, you can expect to pay anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 for a 30 kWh solar setup.

    How many solar panels do I need for 2000 kWh per month?

    2000 kWh per month equates to roughly 66 kWh per day. Again, let’s go with 200-watt panels (as these are some of the most common), with around 4-hours of sun per day(just to be safe), you’ll again be getting roughly 800-watt hours (0.8 kWh) per day, per panel.

    In order to produce 66 kWh per day of power, you’d need 82, 200-watt solar panels.

    How much should I pay for a 6kW solar system?

    As mentioned earlier, the average cost per watt for solar setups is 2-3 in the US. This costs roughly 12,000, but you’ll also need to consider installation, bringing the cost up to roughly 14,000-15,000.

    1 kWp solar panel size

    If you wanted to run a solar system with a panel output of 1 kWP, you’d need 1 kilowatt of power. 1 kilowatt would be the peak capability of your panels on a day with full sun, which is 1,000-watts. Solar panels usually come in 200-350 watt units, although some higher power panels are available too.

    For 1 kWp, you’d need five 200-watt panels, four 250-watt panels, or three 350-watt panels. Remember, this is your solar array’s peak performance rating, so your panels will only achieve this kind of output for a few hours a day if it is clear and sunny.

    How to calculate solar panel efficiency

    Most solar panels have an efficiency rating of between 10% and 23%, which the manufacturer usually indicates.

    Efficiency also depends on the type of panel you’re using (monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline), where your panel is facing, and much heat it is generating (solar panels should never be laid flat on a roof, as they lose efficiency exponentially when they overheat.)

    The efficiency rating of a solar panel refers to its ability to convert sunlight into usable energy.

    So, if a panel has an efficiency rating of 15%, it can harness 15% of the photons that hit it. Due to real-world weather conditions and placement, a solar panel rarely produces its full wattage output rating.

    To calculate the efficiency of your panel, you’ll need to look up the amount of sunlight that hits the earth in your particular area. Multiply this amount by the surface area of your panel, divide the maximum kWp of your panel by this number, and then multiply it by 100% to get an accurate efficiency rating.

    Let’s say 1,000-watts per square meter of sunlight is hitting your area, and if you have a 1 square meter panel, you’ll end up with 1,000-watts exactly. If you have a 200 kWp panel, the efficiency will be roughly 20% (negating any other environmental factors, of course.)


    The first step in designing a solar setup for your home is to calculate how many kWh or kWp you’ll need. Check your electricity bill for your monthly use, and divide that number by 30 to calculate your daily needs.

    Of course, you can always reduce your electricity usage or use solar power to augment your mains power and reduce your electricity bills.

    Once you’ve calculated your power requirements, you can design a solar system that can provide you with all or even just a portion of your power needs.

    Hopefully, we’ve helped you with all the calculations you need so you can get started going off-grid, today!

    How long do solar panels last?

    How long solar panels last depends on their quality and how well looked after. In general, though, most solar panels will last between 25 and 30 years, with the most expensive models having a life expectancy of 40–50 years. That being said, solar panels will still produce energy after this time, although their capability will have declined significantly.

    How do you set up a solar panel system?

    The first step in setting up a solar system is determining how much power you need, and planning your solar system accordingly. After this, the setup is fairly straightforward;1. Gather all the required components together; panels, inverter, batteries, cables, etc. 2. Find a safe space in your home to house the inverter and batteries3. Fix the panels to your roof or a stand4. Connect the panels to your inverter or charge controller5. Connect your inverter to your batteries

    What is required for solar panel installation?

    Again, the first crucial step for any solar installation is calculating your power needs. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to purchase the appropriate components. These include;1. Solar panels2. Batteries3. Inverter4. Charge controller5. Suitable cablesThese components are typically purchased separately according to your needs, but you can purchase ready-made solar kits that have all the components you need too.

    Can I set up solar panels myself?

    With a bit of basic DIY and electrical knowledge, you can certainly set up solar panels yourself, especially smaller systems. The setup can become somewhat complicated for large, high-power systems that are grid-tied, though, and you may want to get assistance from a qualified electrician.

    Sol Voltaics is an affiliate and an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. at no extra cost to you.

    How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for 1000 kWh per Month

    Solar power is becoming more efficient and more affordable. Government initiatives, called net metering laws, now require many power companies to buy excess power produced by solar powered homes during sunlight hours by giving credit for power during off-hours when the use [1].

    Can you supplement or possibly supplant your fossil-fuel powered electricity use with solar-generated power? And how much solar power do you actually need to power your house?

    Obviously, there can be a significant range depending upon the size of your home, your family, your energy consumption habits and whether you are in Alaska and using a lot of power to heat your home or in Florida and using a lot of power to cool your home or whether you live in a more temperate climate.

    You can check your electric bill to find your usage. Adding a cushion for those times when your solar panel might not be operating at peak performance, and because it’s easier to do the math, let’s examine how many solar panels you will need to power 1,000 kWh per month.

    How many kWh does a solar panel produce per month?

    First, it is important to note that not all solar panels are created equally.

    Presently, the range of efficiency, that is, how much of the sun’s energy hitting the solar cell is converted into electricity averages 18 percent, but can vary depending on the quality of the solar panel. A premium panel, manufactured with more expensive materials will cost more and be more efficient. You can have a look at our updated list of the best solar panels currently available in the United States.

    A solar panel operating at 20 percent efficiency produces around 265 watts of power per hour [3].

    Manufacturers are required to label the panels with the number of kilowatts they can power per hour during ideal conditions, i.e. direct sunlight on a cloudless and sunny day. This number is called a Standard Test Condition rating (STC) and will be for example 265 if the panel produces 265 watts of power.

    So, how much energy does a solar panel produce per day?

    If for example, the solar panel has a rating of 250 watts of power, and the panel received a full hour of direct sunlight, and no other factors diminished the power, then you would get 250 watt-hours of electricity.

    On average, one such panel would produce one kilowatt hour per day and 30 kWh per month.

    How many kWh per month can you expect to generate from sunshine in your area?

    Many solar power company websites provide calculators for the average annual solar panel output per day in kWh for areas across the United States.

    Combining all of the sunshine that falls on the solar panel over a 24-hour period, the average roof in the United States gets about four hours of “full” or “usable” sun a day.

    Again, this number will vary depending whether you live in a cloudless desert or in foggy mountains.

    As an example, there is a map that shows a solar energy potential in each state of the USA. But goes on to caution that this estimate is based on a south facing array and that you must consider the tilt of your roof, citing that a solar array facing west rather than south can cause a nearly 11 percent output reduction.

    But let’s get back to the example so that we can have a starting point for considering the size of your domestic solar system.

    If you have one 250-watt panel receiving four hours of sun, then you will get 1,000 watts or one kWh per day from that panel. If you have four panels, you will get 4 kWh per day.

    If you have 33 panels, assuming a 30-day month, you will get 1,000 kWh per month.

    Or will you? What can affect solar panel output efficiency?

    The Standard Test Condition rating is based on ideal conditions converting the sun’s energy into power. But the solar system itself is not 100 percent efficient in converting the energy into power.

    • A solar system requires an inverter to convert the Direct Current power the photovoltaic cells receive from the sun to Alternating Current power used in our homes. Power is lost as it goes through the inverter, which can be a single inverter per system, or a single inverter per solar panel. It is estimated that about three percent of electricity is lost passing through the inverter.
    • Different materials used to manufacture the cells can resist the flow of electricity as can resistance passing through the cables.
    • Inevitably, solar panels will pick up grime and dirt from the atmosphere, blocking full sunshine.
    • Temperature can effectively create power losses as well. While it seems that a hot, sunny local would be ideal, the fact is that the STC is based on a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). The flow of electrons across the photovoltaic cells is not as efficient at higher temperatures. All in all, solar companies estimate a de-rating factor of around 20 percent.

    Be aware that system sizes are calculated inversely in the United Kingdom and the United States.

    Thus, a typical 1 kWh system in the UK is estimated to produce 850 kWh unit per year, a 2 kWh would create around 1,700 kWh units per year and a 5 kWh system is estimated to create 4,500 kWh [5].

    Accordingly, if you are talking with a solar installation company about purchasing a system, then chances are they are already including the 20 percent de-rating factor in their estimate.

    But it is best to do your own preliminary calculations and then talk with them about their energy system offering so that you can be certain the system you purchase provides your anticipated needs.

    calculate, solar, panel, meanings, 1200, system

    So how many solar panels do you really need to get 1000 kWh per month?

    If your goal is to produce 1,000 kWh per month, then truly you must produce 1,250 kWh per month to allow for loss in output efficiency.

    Remember, if you are receiving an average of four hours of usable sunshine per day and your solar panel is rated at 250 watts of power, then you will need forty panels to reliably generate 1,000 kWh per month.

    An average residential solar panel size today is about five and a half feet by three feet.

    But the number of panels and consequent space needed can vary depending upon whether you select lower-efficiency economy panels or high-efficiency premium panels.

    Consider this table when trying to figure out how many solar panels you can put on your roof:

    So go out and take a look at your roof and consider the sunlight falling on it. Think about the size and placement of solar panels. Do a cost analysis of the savings you will experience from creating your own clean, renewable energy.

    Read our article about available solar power incentives and rebates that might make financing your savings attractive now.

    How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

    Solar panels are typically the main FOCUS of a solar energy system. Although there are other components of a solar array that are equally important, such as the inverter, it’s the panels that most people see and recall when solar is the topic of discussion.

    As the most obvious visual representation of the system, solar panels are the FOCUS of most aesthetic decisions when exploring solar for your home. It’s natural to wonder what the solar array will look like. A reputable solar partner will create a visual representation of the array during the design phase. The first step in this process is determining the number of solar panels that will be installed on your roof.

    So, how many solar panels will you need? While it’d be nice if there was an easy formula, like a 1,200 square foot home = 12 solar panels, it’s really more nuanced and customized to your unique energy footprint. With that said, let’s dive into the most critical variables to consider when sizing a solar energy system for your home.

    Your Energy Goals

    One of the first steps in determining how many solar panels you need is figuring out your goals. Three common goals are to reduce on-peak usage, reduce a certain percentage of your electricity bill overall, and/or completely eliminate your electricity bill entirely. A qualified solar installation team will be able to walk you through the various options and price points to determine which one is best for you. Depending on what your goal is, your system might be larger or smaller than you initially pictured.

    For example, if your goal is to reduce a certain percentage of your energy bill, you will need fewer solar panels. While a smaller array produces less energy, it also means a much smaller upfront investment. Conversely, if your goal is to fully eliminate your bill, you will need more solar panels, but this will come at a greater cost. In both examples, the payback period. also known as return on investment (ROI). is calculated by looking at total savings over time. A reputable solar installer will share this information willingly. If your solar partner is reluctant to discuss ROI, seek another partner.

    Your Energy Usage Profile

    How many panels you need will also depend on your energy usage profile. If you are a relatively low-energy user, the number of panels you’ll need t o make a serious d ent in your electricity bill will be less than a higher energy user. In general, the more energy you use, the more solar panels you will need to achieve your clean energy goals.

    In this way, sizing is a direct result of family size and family behavior. A single person could move into your same home and have a much smaller bill than a family living in the same space. This is exactly why square footage and the number of rooms matter much less in terms of system sizing than family makeup and practices.

    The Orientation of Your Roof

    While it might seem like a small factor when it comes to installing solar, the orientation of your roof notably influences how many solar panels you need. As a general rule of thumb, a south-facing roof will require fewer panels than a north-facing roof. This is because a south-facing roof will receive more sunshine throughout the day than a north-facing one. sunshine hitting the same amount of panels will produce more energy. So if you’re wanting to offset a certain percentage of your energy bill, you might require more or fewer panels based on your roof’s orientation to achieve it.

    Buying Wholesale Solar Panels

    Many people think they can save money by purchasing panels wholesale. This approach requires you to hire an installer willing to back a panel that they didn’t sell.

    While the price tag of wholesale solar panels might make this a tempting option to explore, we would caution against this for a few key reasons. First, depending on the seller, you might not know the true condition of the panels, or where they came from. Maybe you’ll get a couple of good ones, but there’s just as much chance you could end up with factory rejects, damaged or otherwise compromised units. Maybe the wattage of the panels has been impacted in some way, or they’re used panels being passed off as new. We’ve seen it all.

    Along with not fully knowing what kind of panels you might get, most qualified solar installation companies won’t install just any panel. A reputable installer will want to ensure that you get a reliable system, and most will back their system with a workmanship warranty. If the installer cannot guarantee the product you purchased will perform or last as designed, they will most likely not be willing to warranty it and will decline your project.

    Finding someone who will install your solar panels for you could result in a lower-quality installation team willing to forgo a warranty or QA regulations just to make a quick buck. We recommend avoiding wholesale unless you can verify the source and condition of the panels, and have a reputable installer ready and willing to tackle your project ahead of time.

    Lucrative Incentives for Installing Solar Panels

    While not a direct factor that influences how many solar panels you’ll need to reach your specific energy goals, lucrative solar incentives can affect the overall kWh production of your system. The most recent update to the currently available solar incentives happened in August 2022, when President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This important piece of legislation reinstated and extended the 30% solar tax credit through 2032. It also made this higher 30% retroactive to all 2022 solar installations. Before the IRA passed, the tax credit was at 26% and scheduled to decrease to 22% on January 1st, 2023 before ending for all residential installations in 2024.

    With this increased and extended tax credit, you might be able to afford higher-efficiency solar panels. This would most likely decrease the total amount of solar panels you’ll need, since you’ll have more energy production in a single panel when going with a higher wattage panel.

    If you’re wondering how many solar panels you’ll need for your home, download our free guide, Are Solar Batteries Right For You? In it, you’ll find the various factors that make up a solar and energy storage purchase decision. Or, if you’re ready to talk to a member of our team, contact us for a free, no-obligation solar consultation below.

    Solar Costs

    Energy from the sun is free. However, capturing and utilizing this free energy does have associated costs, such as installing and maintaining the equipment needed to harness the energy.

    Residential System Pricing

    Solar Thermal System Pricing

    Solar water heating systems generally produce the biggest economic return on investment. A typical residential solar water heating system sized for a family of four costs about 6,000 to 8,000.

    Solar Electric System Pricing

    The initial investment required to purchase a residential solar electric system can be significant. A turnkey system equipped to produce enough power for the average home can be as much as 30,000. 36,000, which is why most homeowners choose a solar electric system that is designed to offset only a portion of the home’s electrical energy consumption.

    An average home in Alabama consumes 1,200 kWh of electricity each month. A solar electric system rated at one kilowatt will produce approximately 100 kWh of electricity per month in Alabama, which means the average house would require an approximately 12-kilowatt (kW) system with battery back-up in order to meet 100% of the household electricity needs.

    Installing a solar electric system without batteries averages between 2,500 to 3,000 per kW. Therefore, the average homeowner would have to make an initial equipment investment of 30,000 to 36,000 for a 12-kW system. In Alabama, with electric costs averaging 0.125/kWh, the annual electric utility cost for the average homeowner would be 1,800.

    Without incentives, it would take over 20 years to get a return on the investment of a whole-house solar electric system.

    Tax Credits and Incentives

    For a typical household, the prospect of paying up to 100,000 for solar panels is prohibitive; however, incentives in the form of tax credits and low interest loans can help offset the cost. A 26% federal tax credit is currently available through December 2022 for installing a solar energy system.

    For Information

    Let us help you determine if installing a solar energy system is right for you. For more information about solar thermal and electric system opportunities at your home or business, contact our Products and Services Team Mon-Fri, 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m., at 1-800-990-2726.

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