One of the most common questions homeowners ask when they’re looking to go solar is, “How many solar panels will I need for my home?” While this may be a straightforward question, the answer is not. The primary goal of going solar is to offset your electricity use by 100%. Therefore, the number of solar panels you need for your home will vary and depend on three main factors:

  • Solar panel rating
  • Sun exposure
  • Electricity consumption

Here, we show you how to calculate the number of solar panels you’ll need for your home in Modesto, CA. From this estimate, you’ll get one step closer to determining how much you’ll need to invest in solar panels, including the savings you can expect. These are the seven factors that determine the number of solar panels your home needs.

1. Your Home’s Electrical Usage

Your home’s electrical usage will influence the number of solar panels you’ll need to install. Electricians use kilowatt-hours (kWh) to measure the amount of electricity used in any property per billing cycle. For example, if your home uses 900 kWh monthly and experiences five peak sunlight hours daily, it will need a larger solar setup than your neighbor using 400 kWh. Put simply, the more electricity you use in a billing cycle, the more solar panels you’ll need to purchase.

On the other hand, if you have energy-efficient appliances and use energy-efficient LED bulbs, your home will likely need fewer panels than a similar home using traditional lighting. The same holds for insulation, especially in the attic.

2. Size of Your House

The size of your home plays a significant role in determining the number of kWh of solar power the panels will consume. For instance, a home measuring 1,500 square feet will probably use 630 kWh, while one measuring 3,000 square feet will need around 1,200 kWh.

3. Solar Panel Size

A standard solar panel measures around 65 by 39 inches, but this can vary from brand to brand. If your roof has an unconventional design or is compact, the quantity and dimensions of the solar panels to install will become crucial factors.

For instance, if your roof has plenty of usable space, you’ll have the flexibility to give up a little bit of efficiency in favor of bigger and more affordable panels. However, if you have a partially shaded or restricted roof, we recommend opting for fewer and smaller solar panels.

4. Sunlight and Climate in Your Locality

Local climatic conditions have a significant impact on the energy produced by your solar panels. Additionally, you’ll need to install more panels if you live in an area that lacks consistent, bright sunlight. It all comes down to how many hours of sunlight your home receives daily. Modesto averages 5.4 peak sun hours a day.

5. Production Ratios

We measure the production ratio of any solar panel by estimating the amount of energy it will produce in kWh over a certain period to its actual size in wattage. It’s not uncommon to assume that the input will influence the output, but this is not always the case.

Remember, the amount of sunlight hitting your roof on any given day isn’t always consistent. So, we need to use the size of your solar system when making these estimates to get an accurate production ratio.
Keeping this in mind, a 10kW solar system that generates 16 kWh each year is likely to have a production ratio of around 1.6 (16/10 = 1.6). Certain areas of Modesto that receive ample sunlight daily can easily attain this ratio.

6. Solar Panel Wattage

All solar panels appear the same at first glance, but they are inherently different. Before you choose any solar panel for your home, consider its wattage — the total electrical output your panel can generate.

Most panels can generate between 250 and 400 watts depending on the model; 300 watts is the standard average for solar-powered homes in Modesto. Thus, you need to keep a keen eye on the wattage of your preferred model before proceeding with the installation.

7. Budget

The U.S. average for solar panel installation costs stands at around $16,000. However, some systems can exceed this, costing as much as $35,000 or even more. While budgeting, remember to include the costs for solar batteries and other equipment. You may also want to factor in maintenance costs, which can help increase the lifespan of your solar panels while boosting your savings.

How to Estimate the Number of Panels You Need to Power Your Household

Our team uses this formula when calculating how many solar panels we will need to install in your home in Modesto: Number of panels = panel wattage/production ratio/system capacity. By using the figures above, it becomes easier to estimate: Number of panels = 300W/1.6/11,000kW.

Once you do the math, you’ll see that this comes to around 20 to 25 panels for a household. Use this equation to estimate the number of panels you may need to power your home.

To make sure you get it right, start by going over your utility bill to determine how much output you’ll need. Ensure you bring this figure with you when you come to our office for a consultation.

What Kind of Savings Can You Make by Going Solar?

Homeowners spend an average of $125 a month on energy bills. Annually, this translates to $1,500. Once you go solar, the savings will become evident after you have paid off the initial investment. You can enjoy additional savings if your locality has a net metering policy.

Are Solar Systems Right for Your Home in Modesto?

Solar energy provides clean, sustainable energy and offers substantial savings to homeowners. You can benefit by switching to solar energy if

  • You wish to own the panels
  • You live in an area with ample sunlight
  • Your utility bills are high
  • Your county has a net metering policy
  • There are no obstructions between your house and the sky

You stand to experience an abundance of benefits if your home meets any of the above criteria.

Reliable Solar Installation in Modesto

Solar panel installation is a smart financial move for any homeowner in Modesto and surrounding areas. And while the initial investment may appear high, the cost savings are worth it, especially if you live in an area that has solar tax incentives and net metering.

At Loves Air, we specialize in solar power system replacement and installation. We also offer complete HVAC repair, maintenance and installation services and can install tankless water heaters, whole-house-fans and thermostats.

We have years of experience installing solar panels in homes in Modesto, and we will be glad to help you find the right fit for your home. No matter your budget or energy needs, our team will work with you to find a solar panel system that will satisfy your energy needs. We will sit down with you to discuss your options and assist you in determining the number of solar panels your house will need.

For more information on solar panel installation, contact Loves Air today!

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