How to Design a Home Solar System: Everything You Need to Know
You’ve heard that people are saving up to $125 a month on their electric bills by switching to solar energy. With savings like that, it’s worth considering a solar array of your own. But solar can cost a lot of money, and how do you know if your installation company is providing you the best service for your solar system budget?
Well, what if you were to design a home solar system for yourself?
Okay, that might sound a little daunting, but it’s actually a pretty simple process. Here’s everything you need to know about creating a residential solar array.
Determine Monthly Power Usage
While solar energy may have the connotation of being complex, designing a residential solar system is a lot easier than you’d think. You can start to put together your own array using just a few key aspects.
As with any plan you create, you’ll want to set an objective. Maybe you want your solar array to cover your entire electrical bill, or maybe it only needs to cover a portion. However you plan on using your solar system, you’ll want to know how much electricity you currently use.
The easiest way to find out your power usage is to contact your electrical provider. Or if you prefer not to talk with them, you can use a simple electrical use calculator for a reasonable estimate.
When you know your electrical usage, Build your objective using the kilowatt-hours (kWh). With your plan in mind, you can start to design a home solar system.
Know the Peak Sun Hours in Your Area
Depending on your location, the typical amount of direct sunlight will vary. Warmer areas like Hawaii might have more than 6 peak sun hours, while cloudier areas like Illinois might have as little as 3. These numbers add up over the course of a month and have a large impact on the number of solar panels you’ll need.
For a simple peak sun hour chart, check out this list.
Consider Solar Panel Size
To create your solar array, you’ll need to know the wattage of your panels. The wattage is an estimation of how many watts they’ll produce per hour. Solar panels typically range from 250-400w.
In addition to their wattage output, you’ll want to know their efficiency. Some panels can have surprisingly low output, as low as 10-12%. Others produce better, as much as 22-25%. Keep this in mind when calculating your kWh.
Knowing your panels’ wattage and the peak sun hours, you can calculate how many panels your solar array needs to meet your objective. On average, a residential solar system is rated to produce 6kWh. For more info on determining the size of your array, Blue Raven Solar can help.
How to Design a Home Solar System
Using the aspects listed above you can understand how to design a home solar system. Many people find that their solar panel designs save them money on their electric bills. Using the aspects listed above you can understand how to design a home solar system. Many people find that their solar panel designs save them money on their electric bills.
For more benefits of solar energy, check out our Home Improvement section.