Seki Hudson

Hi, my name is Seki Hudson, I am the editor and owner of this blog. I have an engineering degree in automation, I have 5 years of experience in the solar energy industry.

Why Electricity Usage Spikes

When you are designing your solar panels for your house you need to consider some of the factors that will make the electricity usage spikes.

Why Electricity Usage Spikes

The most popular reasons electricity use increases

There are a number of reasons why electricity usage spikes. The top 5 reasons I have seen in my experience are the following:

Reason #1: Hot Weather

When it gets hotter, you will tend to use more electricity. You may be really good at keeping tabs on your thermostat, but a long run of really hot days will make your air conditioner work harder and more often.

Reason #2: Visiting Family

The more people who live in your house, the more electricity they will use. Adding more people to your home increases the use of every resource in your home, from hot water to food, and even electricity.

Reason #3: An Electric Vehicle

A lot of solar customers want to reduce their carbon footprint everywhere they can, so they buy an electric car. It’s a great idea, but recognize that you may be outstripping the production of your solar system.

Reason #4: The Holidays

During holidays we tend to stay home for long times, people tend to use more electronic devices, use hot water, etc, this will spike electricity usage.

Between Christmas lights and family get-togethers, your electricity use is far from your normal amount during the other 11 months of the year.

Reason #5: A Failing Appliance

When an air conditioner or refrigerator are on their last days, they become horribly inefficient. With fridges especially, it’s common to keep your old one after you buy a newer, more efficient model — adding to the amount of electricity you use.

Final words

This is it, those are the 5 reasons why electricity usage spikes, you need to keep in mind when you’re sizing your solar panel system.

 

Can You Run a Computer on Solar Power?

Another day I got this question, Can you run a computer on solar power? The simple answer is yes. Yes, you can run a computer on solar power.

The combination of solar panels and inverter allow you to power your computer with solar panels and it will enable you to get continuous power even without electricity.

The most important thing to remember here is that a computer or laptop can run with DC power from IPS or a battery. Solar panels produce DC power, so running a laptop or computer using solar panels is possible.

Can You Run a Computer on Solar Power?

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need to Run a Computer?

I am going to share with you how you can calculate the number of solar panels needed to run your computer in three steps, the first step will be to calculate the energy you need, the second step you will need to know the number of sun hours you receive and the last step will be to calculate the number of solar panels needed. 

Step 1: Find out how much does your computer consume

In order to know exactly how many panels you need to run your computer, the first thing is to find out how much power your computer consumes, you can check this on the quick startup guide you get with your computer or you can read on a label that comes at the back of your computer.

I have a Lenovo Ideapad 530S, that according to the manufacture it needs 65 watts to run, most desktop computers will consume between 200 watts and 300 watts.

Let us assume you have a desktop computer and it consumes 200 watts of power and you are going to turn the computer for 8 hours, the energy consumption will be 200×8 watts-hour or 1.6 KWh.

Step 2: how many usable hours of sunlight at your region each day

Before you can calculate the number of solar panels needed to run your computer, you need to find out how many usable hours of sunlight at your region each day.

The easiest way to do this is to look at an isolation map, if you are a professional solar panels installer you might have software that will help you with that but if you don’t you can just check on https://www.nrel.gov/gis/solar.html

Step 2: how many usable hours of sunlight at your region each day

Now, imagine that you live in a location where on average there are 8 hours of sunlight every day. and from step one above you know that your computer will consume 1.6KWh per day.

Take the power consumption we calculated in step 1, you divide by the number of daily usable sunlight and then you multiply it by 1.25 ( this is to compensate for the power loss due to batteries, solar inverter, and wiring ).

If we continue with the example above, the solar panel watt needs equal: 1.6kWh needed / 8hrs of sunlight*1.25=0.25 kW or 250 watts per day.

If do you want 250 W solar panels, that is 250/250 that is 1 solar panel or you can use one 300 watts solar panel.

If you will use 100W solar panels that are 2.5 panels, you will need 3 solar panels to run your computer for 8 hours.

Can you connect a computer directly to solar panels?

Even though the solar panel will produce the DC  voltage, it is not recommended to connect the computer directly to the solar panel.

In order to run computers on solar power, you need some other suppliers to connect solar panels and your computers. Such as inverters, charge controllers, batteries, and some small devices. Firstly, install solar panels, then connect inverters, charge controllers with batteries. Finally, connect your computer to the batteries.

Do you need a battery to run a computer with solar panels?

There is no direct answer to this question, it depends on what do you want to do, you can connect solar panels to the inverter and from there connect your computer and be good to go, this way of running your computer will be cheaper but the problem is that there is no backup system, so when there is not the sun or at night you will not be able to use your computer. ( unless it is a laptop and you charged it).

When you have batteries, these will act as energy storage units and when there is no sun or it is night, you can still use the energy stored in them, during sunlight the batteries will be charged with solar panels and at night you can use them, the problem is that solar batteries are expensive, they will take 30 to 50% of the budget for the whole project.

10 Most Essential Solar panel installation tools

In order to perform well in any job you will need to have the right tools, this applies to the solar panel installation too. In this post, I am going to share with you the 10 most essential solar panel installation tools so that you can prepare yourself to install those solar panels.

10 must-have solar panel installation tools

10 Most Essential Solar panel installation tools

If you are going to install solar panels, you need to have all the tools mentioned in this post to make sure that your installation procedure is smooth.

1. Digital Multimeter

Solar panels will convert energy from the sun into electricity, you need a digital multimeter to test and measure voltage and current produced by the solar panels.

A digital multimeter combines the testing capabilities of an ohmmeter, ammeter, and voltmeter. This tool can also help with the maintenance and repairing of solar panels.

You can get a cheap digital multimeter from Amazon, click here.

2. Battery operated drill

When installing solar panels on the roof you will need to make some holes in order to install rails and then hook them up with the solar panels.

The drill needs to be battery operated for easy to use and also according to my experience it reduces the possibility of the technician falling from the roof, for better work, and for your own protection, you need to have a battery-operated drill.

Click here to get a battery-operated drill

3. HackSaw

Solar panels that you are going to install will rest on some rails which you will install on your roof. Therefore, you will need to cut the rails before installing them or after you have finished installing the panels. A hacksaw is affordable and easy to use.

If you do not have the Hacksaw you can pick it up from Amazon

4. Flat Pry Bar

The flat pry bar is tool is also known, is made of flat steel. Typically two inches wide and fifteen inches long, the flat bar is an invaluable tool for separating elements that have been nailed to one another. Since most roofs have shingles, you will need a flat pry bar to help you slide the flashing under it.

Get the flat pry bar here.

4. Caulk Gun

During solar panels installation, you will have to drill numerous holes, in order to add rails and mount solar panels.

Therefore, you will need a caulk gun to help you apply the sealant safely and accurately. The roof sealant will prevent leakages in the future and help protect your ceiling.

Get Caulk Gun here

5. Fall Protection

If you are going to work on roofs or at any height, fall protection gear is a must-have. Fall protection gear includes harnesses, ropes, and of course helmets to ensure your safety.

It does not matter how experienced you are, we all make mistakes, and when that mistake is on a roof, it can cost you your life if you are not equipped with fall protection.

Get your fall protection harness here.

6. Cable and Connector Tools

During the solar installation process, you will have to connect solar panels between themselves, you will need to connect solar panels to the inverter, all you will need some cable to your home appliances such as lights bulb, these process will require some cables and connectors.

You will need to calculate the size of the cables you need before you buy them, the size of the cables will depend on how many watts and current is produced by your solar panels, and the distance from the solar panels to the inverter and from the inverter to the distribution center. 

7. Solar Panel Hanger

Solar panel hangers are a must-have tool for anyone who plans on installing panels. This tool sits on the tracks and allows you to place the panels safely on the rail.

The solar panel hanger can eliminate the need for maneuvering a 50 pounds cell and the risk of your panels falling down.

8. Screwdrivers

This is the essential tool for solar panels installation, remember that your solar panels will be held in place on your roof by screws.

Depending on the size of your project you can purchase a number of screwdrivers, the rule of thumb is to first tighten the big screws locking the mounts onto the roof safely.

You can get Screwdrivers from Amazon

9. Wire Stripper/Cutter

Solar panels installation involves a lot of wiring, so make sure you have the right wires stripper and cutter to help you with the wiring task. With the right stripper and cutter, you can finish the wiring job within the shortest time possible.

Do you need a wire stripper? get one from Amazon.

10. Tape Measure

You can use a tape measure in different ways during solar panels installation, when sizing your system, you can use them to determine the length and width of your roof. You can use this information to know how many solar panels you can put on the roof.

The tape measure can also help you determine the exact place where you will install the mounts which you will mark using your chalk. And once you have installed the mounts, you can use a string line to ensure that the rails are leveled.

Need a tape measure? get one from Amazon.  

Best Solar Panel Memes To Make Your Day

I was surfing around the web today and I found some great solar panel memes that made me laugh, today I am going to share them with you so that they can brighten your day.

13 solar panel memes to brighten your day

So I found these 13 fun memes that can make you laugh a little bit. Disclaimer, these memes are not intended to offend anyone are just for fun, if you find yourself offended, I apologize in advance. 

#1: Solar panels are everywhere

Best Solar Panel Memes To Make Your Day

#2: Always pick a reputable installer to install your panels, this is one of your biggest investments

Best Solar Panel Memes To Make Your Day

#3: There is no clean coal, you know it

Best Solar Panel Memes To Make Your Day

#4: We all that going solar can reduce your bill

Best Solar Panel Memes To Make Your Day

#5: Just go solar read the 5 reasons why here

Best Solar Panel Memes To Make Your Day

#6: Can we agree on this?

getting solar

#7: Sad but true, you need to have a home to install solar panels on your home

install solar panels on your roof

#8: It is very hot here

hot solar

#9: You can always have both

Best Solar Panel Memes To Make Your Day

#10:Solar energy for all

solar energy for all

#11: Even cats are going solar, what are you waiting for?

cool cat

#12:It feels good, you should experience this feeling

good feeling

#13: Install those solar panels

Best Solar Panel Memes To Make Your Day

Final words

That is it, those are funny solar panel memes that I found on the internet, hope you enjoyed them and they motivated you a little bit to go solar. Thank you for reading.

Best Solar Panel Quotes To Motivate You To Go Solar

Many people are going solar, we all know the benefits of having solar panels on your roof. Today I am sharing with you the best solar panel quotes that can inspire you to go solar.

Best Solar Panel Quotes To Motivate You To Go Solar

Best solar panel quotes that can inspire you to go solar

“We have this handy fusion reactor in the sky called the sun, you don’t have to do anything, it just works. It shows up every day.” – Elon Musk.

“Solar is cost effective right now. When you consider the cost to our health from air pollution, solar is just as competitive as any other energy source.” – Thomas P. Kay.

“Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of … permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.” – Jimmy Carter.

“I think the future for solar energy is bright.” – Ken Salazar.

“The primary means of energy generation is going to solar. It will at least be a plurality, and probably be a slight majority in the long term.” – Elon Musk.

“The sunlight … that strikes Earth’s land surface in two hours is equivalent to total human energy use in a year. While much of that sunlight becomes heat, solar energy is also responsible for the energy embodied in the wind, hydro, wave, and biomass, each with the potential to be harnessed for human use. Only a small portion of that enormous daily, renewable flux of energy will ever be needed by humanity.” – Christopher Flavin.

“You could power the entire United States with about 150 to 200 square kilometers of solar panels, the entire United States. Take a corner of Utah… there’s not much going on there, I’ve been there. There are not even radio stations.” – Elon Musk.

“Homeowners want solar power. It’s cost-effective. We invented a business model that makes it really easy for consumers to switch to solar – and that’s solar-as-a-service.” – Lynn Jurich.

“You don’t even need a roof to adopt clean energy today, and the paybacks are higher than ever – both for the environment and financially.” – Paul Spencer.

“What do oil company executives, vampires, and NASA bureaucrats all have in common? They fear solar energy.” – Dr. Michio Kaku.

“We live in a world bathed in 5,000 times more energy than we consume as a species in the year, in the form of solar energy.” – Peter Diamandis.

“If you take a nuclear plant, and you took its current output, and you compare that to just taking solar panels and putting solar panels on the area used by the nuclear power plant — because these typically have a big keep-out zone, you know of about 5 kilometers or thereabouts, where building houses and dense office or housing space… usually people don’t want to do that near a nuclear power plant. So, there’s quite a big keep-out zone, and when you factor the keep-out zone into account, the solar panels put on that area would typically generate more power than that nuclear power plant.” – Elon Musk.

“The sun provides more energy in one hour than all humanity uses, in all forms, in a single year. Sunlight can provide us with its own resolution to our energy problems. The only transformation required is for humanity to reduce, or end, consumption of stored solar (as fossil fuels) and, in its place, use freely available ‘fresh’ solar.” – David S. Findley.

“The future is green energy, sustainability, renewable energy.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I must be running on solar power. Cause I’m ready to crank back up.” — Billy Currington

“A transition to clean energy is about making an investment in our future.” — Gloria Reuben.

“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature inexhaustible sources of energy – sun, wind, and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”-Thomas Edison

“Solar power is the last energy resource that isn’t owned yet – nobody taxes the sun yet.”-Bonnie Rait

“My house is solar-powered. I tell Republicans, ‘You can hate the subsidies – I hate the subsidies, too – but you can’t hate solar panels.”-Thomas Massie

“For every family in liberal San Francisco that went solar with SunRun in 2010, nearly eight families in more conservative Fresno made the switch to our solar power service.”-Lynn Jurich.

“Solar power, wind power, the way forward is to collaborate with nature – it’s the only way we are going to get to the other end of the 21st century.” –Bjork

“Solar power is going to be absolutely essential to meeting growing energy demands while staving off climate change.”-Ramez Naam.

“America is home to the best researchers, advanced manufacturers, and entrepreneurs in the world. There is no reason we cannot lead the planet in manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines, engineering the smart energy grid, and inspiring the next great companies that will be the titans of a new green energy economy.”-Brad Schneider

Solar energy is bound to be in our future. There’s a kind of inevitability about it.”-Jim Inhofe.

” Even if we didn’t have greenhouse gases, we’re going to have to move away from fossil fuels, as we’re going to run out. They’re finite, whereas solar and wind are infinite.”-Ted Turner.

“I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun’s energy. If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.”-George Porter.

Final words

That is it, those are the best solar panel quotes that can inspire you to go solar, which of the quotes did you like the best? let me know in the comment section below.

Things To Consider Before Buying a House With Solar Panels

So do you want to buy a new house, but it has solar panels installed on it, what can you do? In this post, I am going to share with you things that you need to consider before buying a house with solar panels.

buying a house with solar panels

Benefits of having solar panels in your house

There are many benefits of having solar panels on your roof, from environmental, political, or climate change, but for me, the main benefit of having solar panels on your house is the financial one, it will reduce the amount of money you pay your utility company and electricity bill.

4 Questions to Ask About Buying a House With Solar Panels

Before making a decision to buy a house that has solar panels installed there are four questions you need to ask, the answers to these questions will determine if buying the house is a smart move or not.

Question #1: Is the system owned outright and not subject to a lease or PPA?

Before you buy a home you need to ask the owner if they own the solar panels, they took a loan to install them, they lease or they have a solar power purchase agreement (PPA).

If they own the solar panels or they took a loan that is good you can go and consider buying the house, but if they lease or have a PPA, this means that they send a payment to a third party each and every month so you will need to know the terms of that payment or you will be in big trouble.

There may be a ‘buy-out’ clause

Sometimes leases contain ‘buy-out clauses’ meaning the new owner can buy their way out of the lease. Check out this with the house vendor and if there is a possibility to buy the lease and you can afford it, they buy it. Most of the time the cost of the lease is the amount of money that would take to install a solar panel system of the same size in the new house.

Question #2: Was the system installed by a reputable installer who is still in business?

This question will give you information about the installer, you want to know if they are reputable, and they are still in business, in case you have to claim a warranty or you just need something to be changed in your solar panel system.

Question #3: Did they use quality solar panels and inverters from companies that are still in business?

Solar panels are one of the biggest investments you can make, you need to know if the component used from the installation are of high quality and from reputable manufactures. Most solar panels manufacture they will guarantee that their panels will produce electricity for more than 20 years, knowing that they are still in business will give you a piece of mind.

Question #4: Is there a copy of the original contract and is the warranty transferrable?

When the original owner of the house signed a contract with the solar installer, they had some kind of warranty signed with the contract. is it transferable? you need to know this before buying the house.

If you get a no as an answer for one of those four questions, for me that is a red flag. my recommendation would be to investigate further to figure out what is the reason if you get a no in two or more questions that, do not buy that house. 

Is buying a house with solar panels a smart decision?

For me yes, it is a very smart decision. Buying a home with solar panels is a smart decision, just so long as the panels are owned rather than leased.

In addition to saving you money on your energy bill, buying a home with solar panels will also boost your home’s value and make it more attractive for resale down the road.

Final words

That is it, for me buying a house with solar panels is a smart decision, just make sure that the owner of the house also owns the solar panels, the solar panels are of high quality and the company that installed the solar panels is reputable. You need to do your investigation before paying for the house with solar panels.

10 Characteristics of Successful Solar Panel Installation Technicians

Probably you want to become a solar panel technician these but do you know what it takes to become a successful solar panel technician? in this post I am going to share with you the most common characteristics of successful solar panel installation technicians.

10 Characteristics of Successful Solar Panel Installation Technicians

1. Curiosity

Becoming a technician is about knowing how things work, in order to keep being relevant you need to have an insatiable curiosity.

2. Constant Improvement

Technologies, customer requirement and how to do things changes very fast, this is why as a solar panel technician you need to be adaptable.

You need to constantly work to improve your skillset, you can do this by listening to feedback from your customers and colleagues, attending training and certifications, and reading.

3. Creativity and Innovation

Sometimes you will face issues that they will need you to be creative, you will face problems that you will never learn in training on books, you need to be able to use what you know and create new solutions for your customers.

4. Problem Solving

You know how the saying goes: if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Technicians regularly encounter problems that must be overcome and solved. Successful technicians have good problem-solving skills that help them in these situations.

5. Good Soft Skills Including Communication

Improving your technical skills is important, but don’t forget soft skills as they are important too. This includes communication skills, presentation skills, leadership skills, and more. Successful technicians have these skills and continuously work to improve them.

6. Team Player

They say you are as good as your team, this is true, most of your projects will require other people with different skills, you need to be able to collaborate with them in order to succeed.

7. Attention to Detail

Solar installations require immense attention to detail. Because solar installations operate for twenty-five-plus years, the installation must be nearly perfect to receive the intended financial returns.

8. An Understanding of Electrical Systems

A solar installation can be thought of as its own electrical power plant. Its goal is to produce clean, reliable, and sustainable power for the customer.

Much like larger power plants, solar installation technicians must have a keen understanding of electrical diagrams to translate these documents into real-life systems.

9. Embrace Change

Nothing stands still in engineering, so it’s important to be open to change. Just because something has been done a particular way for years doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Successful engineers embrace new technologies, processes, and ways of thinking.

10. Optimistic

Solar technicians face challenges – it’s part and parcel of the job. Those challenges could be a complex problem that appears to be completely resistant to a solution, or an issue with a client that is difficult to fix. Remaining optimistic in the face of these challenges helps considerably.

Final words

That is it, those are the 10 characteristics of successful solar panel installation technicians, how many of them do you have? let me know in the comment section below.

How To size the Battery Backup for a Refrigerator

A few days ago I was asked by a former student how to size the battery backup for a refrigerator. My answer was that you need to consider two things before purchasing the battery.

The two things you need to consider when buying the battery backup for your refrigerator are the amount of power the refrigerator consumes while it is working and the amount of power needed to start the refrigerator, I am going to explain this below.

How To size the Battery Backup for a Refrigerator

How much power does a refrigerator use?

The first thing you need to figure out is how much power does your refrigerator consumes, you can find this by checking the power consumption label on your refrigerator. 

Most refrigerator manufacturers have the power consumption rating data for their products. Depending on where your refrigerator was manufactured the power unit can be different, just make sure you convert them to the units that a familiar to you.

The power consumption units can be listed in BTUs (British Thermal Unit) per hour, average WH (watt-hours), or KWH (kilowatt-hours).

Common household refrigerators are labeled to consume between 250watts and 300 watts, but the real power consumption can be even lower, this is because the refrigerator works on cycles, it can work 30% of the time and be Off 70% of the time (this number can be changed depending fast do you want it to cool things).

How much is the start-up power?

Refrigerators contain compressors/motors that will help for air circulations, and these motors will require a high start-up power in order to overcome the inertia when they are completely stopped.

The startup amps are usually referred to as the LRA (Locked Rotor Amps). The locked rotor amps is the amount of power/amperage it takes to start the compressor/motor of the fridge from being completely stopped.

This power is usually 5 to 10 times the nominal power of the refrigerator, this is the reason why sometimes people buy a battery with enough power to run the refrigerator but yet the refrigerator will never start.

For example: if you had a refrigerator that according to the manufacture can consume 300 watts, you will need a battery with an output of 1500 – 3000 watts. If the battery surge watts output is not high enough, it will never get the motor started and not be able to run the refrigerator once the power is lost.

Final words

That is it, this is how you can size the battery backup for the refrigerator, you need to consider the nominal power your refrigerator will consume and also the power surge needed to power the refrigerator when it is not working. 

The failure to do that will result in you buying a battery and finding out that it can not power your refrigerator.

On Grid vs. Off-Grid Solar: Which One is Right for You?

Many people are going solar these days, before you go solar you need to decide which solar panel system do you need, grid-tied or off-grid, in this post, I am going to compare On-grid vs Off-grid solar and provide my opinion on which I think is better for you.

On Grid vs. Off-Grid Solar

Types of solar panel systems

There are three types of solar panel systems.

  • On-grid (or grid-tied)
  • Off-grid (stand-alone with or without battery backup)
  • Hybrid (sometimes called “solar + storage”)

The on-grid solar panel system

on grid solar system

This is the solar system where your solar system is connected with the utility grid of your area, you will have a double direction meter that will read the energy to and from the grid.

With grid-tied systems, the excess of energy you generate is sent into the utility grid. Your panels feed electricity into the grid, which can be distributed to other people in your area. 

When your panels do not produce enough energy or during the night, the utility grid will send you back the extra energy you produced that day.

The bi-directional meter will keep on track the energy you send and receive, at the end of the month you can check how many kWh you send and how many you received, if you have a negative number you will pay the utility company the difference and if you have a positive number either the utility company will store that energy for you (to use it when your panels produce less energy) or they will pay you.

In return, you receive a credit for the energy you generate, which you can use any time. Think of it as a transaction at the bank: you are allowed to withdraw as much as you deposit. This is what allows you to keep the power on when the sun goes down.

This is the preferred system for many people, the main disadvantage is that when the utility grid goes down, you will not have power in your house.

Off-Grid solar panel systems

off grid solar system

As the name suggests, Off-grid solar systems are not connected to the utility grid, so usually you will need to have a bank of batteries to store energy for use when your solar panels are not producing electricity.

Solar batteries are very expensive, in many projects I participated sometimes just the cost of solar batteries it will take up to 50% of the whole project budget.

The main advantage of the off-grid system over the on-grid system is that you will always have energy, even if the grid goes off.

Hybrid solar panel systems

This is sometimes called the solar + batteries system, which is the combination of the two, you connect to the grid but also you have a batteries storage system.

It is the most expensive although it will give you the insurance of having electricity all the time, no matter if there is no sun or the grid is off.

On-Grid vs. Off-Grid Solar which one to pick?

For me, the only reason to go off-grid is if you leave in an area where there is no utility grid or there is a very unstable utility grid, or if you just want to go off-grid no matter what.

But if you live in an area where there is stable grid electricity and you just to lower your utility bill, go On-grid

Final words

That is it, that was the comparison between On-grid vs Off-grid solar and in my opinion, always try to go with on-grid solar if it is posible.

It doesn’t cost anything extra to store electricity in the grid. But adding batteries to an off-grid system is a significant extra cost.

In fact, batteries are the most expensive part of a solar system. They represent as much as 30-50% of the cost of an off-grid system.

Batteries alone are a 4-5 figure investment. For that simple reason, I always recommend connecting a grid-tied system if you have the option.

 

 

 

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My Home

This is another question that I get a lot, How many solar panels do I need for my home? In today’s post, I am going to show you how to calculate the number of solar panels you need for your home.

Decide what you do want to achieve with solar panels

Before you install solar panels on your house you need to decide what do you want to achieve by installing solar panels. Do you want to cut half of your electricity bill? do you want to depend 100% on solar energy? This is the decision you need to make before installing solar panels.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My Home

How to calculate how many solar panels do you need for your home?

I am going to share with you how you can calculate the number of solar panels needed for your house in two steps, the first step will be to calculate the energy you need and the second step will be to calculate the number of solar panels needed. To calculate solar power needs at our home, proceed as follows:

Step 1: How much power do you use per day?

You need to calculate how much energy you need to power your house, in this case, we have two scenarios, the first scenario is if you have been paying bills for the last year and the second scenario is if this is a brand new house.

If you have electricity bills

In this scenario, I am assuming you have been paying electricity bills for the last year and you have historical data for the past 12 months.

To calculate this, get last one-year monthly power bill, add all kilowatt-hour for the whole year, then divide the number by 12, to get your average monthly usage.

Now take our average monthly usage and divide it by 30 to work out our average daily power consumption. As we get our electricity bills in units, we have to convert units into watts.

Suppose consumption of a house is 2400 units per year. Therefore, power usage is 2400/12=200 units per month. Now to get the amount of kilowatt-hour per day you need to divide that number with 30, 200/30=6.7 kilowatt-hour. So the power consumption is 6.7 kilowatt-hour.

If you do not have electricity bills

If it is a brand new house, probably you do not have electricity bills to calculate your daily consumption average, in this case, you can do the following.

All electronics devices have the maximum power consumption label, most of the time it will be in watts, all you need to do is to find that number, let say 50 watts, multiply with the amount of time on average per day you wish to use that item, for example, I use electric bulbs on average of 8 hours per day, so I will multiply by 8, then device that number by 1000 to change it to Kwh.

For example, if I have 5 bulbs that consume 50w each and I am going to turn them on for 8 hours, the energy consumption will be 50*8/1000=0.4 Kwh per bulb, since there are 5 bulbs I will multiply this number by 5, that is 2 kWh per day.

Now perform the same calculation for all devices you plan to use, the television, the refrigerator, the laptop, etc, and then find the total energy consumption per day.

Step 2: Calculate the total number of  solar panels needed

Before you can calculate the number of solar panels needed to cover your electricity needs, you need to find out how many usable hours of sunlight at your region each day.

The easiest way to do this is to look at an isolation map, if you are a professional solar panels installer you might have software that will help you with that but if you don’t you can just check on https://www.nrel.gov/gis/solar.html

Now, imagine that you live in a location where on average there are 8 hours of sunlight every day. and from the step on above you have a total daily consumption of 6.7 kWh per day.

Now take the average consumption in kWh calculated in step 1, you divide by the number of daily usable sunlight and then you multiply it by 1.25 ( this is to compensate for the power loss due to batteries, solar inverter, and wiring ).

If we continue with the example above, the solar panel watt needs equal: 6.7 kWh needed / 8hrs of
sunlight*1.25=1.046 kW or 1046 watts per day.

If do you want 300 W solar panels, that is 1046/300 that is 3.5 solar panels which means you will need 4 solar panels.

If you will use 100W solar panels that are 10.5 panels, you will need 11 solar panels to power your house.

With 4 300W solar panels, you will be able to produce 1200 Watts per day and with 11 100 W solar panels you will be able to produce 1100 watts per day, whichever type of solar panels you choose you should be able to power your house without a problem.

Final words

That is it, this is how you can calculate the number of solar panels needed to power your house, thank you for reading.