Solar panels are appearing all over roofs in Colorado and Texas, and for good reason — going solar offers valuable benefits like significantly lower utility bills, greater energy independence, higher home resale value, and a minimized carbon footprint. If you’ve been considering solar for your home, you may be wondering what your roof will look like after you make the switch. Many of our customers near Denver, Austin, and San Antonio ask us, “How many solar panels will my house need?”
Ultimately, answering this question starts with this consideration:
How Much Power Does Your Home Need?
The size of your residential solar electric (PV) system largely depends on how much electricity your home consumes. If you’re like most homeowners, you probably know that you’re paying too much on your utility bills but don’t know much else.
You can determine how much electricity your home consumes by looking at past utility bills. The average American household consumes about 11,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity per year. Texas homeowners use a bit more — about 13,872 kWh per year. Colorado homeowners use less — about 8,323 kWh per year.
Once you’ve determined how much power your home uses, on average, it’s time for a second consideration:
How Much Electricity Do You Wish to Generate?
Many solar PV systems are “grid-tied,” designed to offset electricity bills significantly while still drawing power from the grid as needed. Grid-tied systems are generally smaller than “off-grid” systems because they do not need to supply 100% of a home’s electricity needs.
Do you want to offset about 75% of your monthly utility bills, or are you looking to offset electricity costs completely? The more electricity you wish to generate with your solar system, the more solar panels you can expect to install on your roof.
How Efficient Are Your Solar Panels?
Not all solar panels are created equal. Some solar panels are more efficient than others and will generate more power for your home. A typical solar panel produces about 265 watts of power, but this number can range anywhere from 210 to 320 watts. The more efficient the solar panels you install are, the fewer you will need to install on your roof.
Calculating the Number of Solar Panels Your House Needs
In short, there are a few key things to consider when determining how many solar panels your home needs:
Home electricity usage
How much electricity usage you wish to offset
Solar panel efficiency
Available roof space
Let’s say you consume about 10,000 kWh of electricity annually and want to offset 85% of that with solar. Fortunately, your roof faces south and is unshaded. You’ll need a system that generates at least 8,500 kWh per year. That correlates to a system size of about 6 kW. A 6 kW system requires approximately 24 average 250-watt efficiency solar panels.
Ask CAM Solar — Your Trusted Local Solar Installer
At CAM Solar, we understand that planning your switch to solar can be daunting. As a leading solar contractor serving homeowners in the Austin and San Antonio, Texas, areas and along Colorado’s Front Range, we’re here to help you design the right solar PV system for your needs.
We’ll assess your home with a free evaluation, consider your goals for going solar, and calculate the ideal size for your new solar electric system, including how many solar panels we’ll need to install on your roof. We even offer convenient financing options to make your switch to solar that much simpler!