Solar Energy

How Many Solar Panels Should You Get for 2024?

When switching to a solar energy system, you must choose the right number of panels for your home. Too few solar panels will mean insufficient power, while excess solar energy can be costly. This comes down to the most common question of residential and commercial customers: “How many solar panels do we need?” 

A reputable solar installation company, with professional solar installers would suggest that the number of solar panels you need depends on your home’s size and electricity use. There’s no one-size-fits-all regarding renewable energy systems, whether residential solar panels or commercial solar panels. 

To know the number of solar panels you need, turn to the best solar companies or best solar panel installers who can calculate based on the key factors. 

Key Takeaways:

  • On average, homes need 17-25 residential solar panels (in a solar array) to cover their daily electricity usage, save energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions or carbon footprint.
  • Many factors impact the solar electricity panels you need, such as sunlight, roof size and angle, cost of solar panels, and type of solar panel installation. 
  • Determine the number of solar panels by considering your electricity usage, solar power rating, and solar production ratios.

Number of Solar Panels: The Factors

In solar technology, several factors affect the number of solar panels you need. Here are the key factors in a solar power system:

Sunlight and Climate 

They require sunlight to produce electricity. Opt for fewer panels if you’re in a sunny area, but consider adding more if shading is an issue to maximize electricity production.

Solar Roofs: Size and Angle 

They perform best on south-facing roofs angled 30-45 degrees for maximum sun exposure. If your roof faces north, more panels are needed to meet energy needs. 

A minimum of 335 ft2 of roof space is needed for a typical solar panel installation, but smaller roofs can still use fewer high-efficiency solar panels to generate electricity.

In general, this table shows the roof space required for varying numbers of solar panels:

System SizeNumber of PanelsRequired Roof Space (in square feet)
4 kW10177 
6 kW15265
8 kW20353
10 kW25442
12 kW30530

Solar Panels Cost

In most solar companies, the average cost of solar panels was $25,000 before incentives, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. But the main point is: 

  • Higher-efficiency solar panels mean greater energy production and savings, but they come with a higher upfront solar panel cost. 
  • Less efficient solar panels are cheaper initially but may require installing solar panels more later on to generate sufficient electricity for your needs.

Type of Solar Panel 

There are three different types of solar panels, each with its own benefits. Here’s an overview:

Solar Panel TypeEfficiency RatingCostDescription
Monocrystalline Solar Panels15-20%HighFewer solar panels are required due to better performance. These durable solar panels work well on homes with limited roof space.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels13-16%LowGood for larger roofs but needs more solar panel installations or renewable energy installations.
Thin-film Solar PanelsAs low as 7%LowThese solar panels are affordable but are only suitable for small projects like garages or sheds.

Determining How Many Solar Systems You Need

To determine the number of solar panels you need and go for Vancouver renewable energy, you need to understand the following elements: 

  • Electricity Usage

Electricity usage is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The U.S. Energy Information Administration explained that households consume around 10,791kWh of electricity annually. For a solar panel installation company or a solar panel installer, this figure serves as a benchmark for a sizeable solar panel system to offset 100% of your electricity usage.

  • Solar Power Rating

Also known as solar panel wattage, it represents the electricity output of any solar panel system under optimal conditions. Solar power is measured in watts (W), with most high-quality solar panels ranging from 300-400W. In fact, 400W solar panels are commonly used, according to recent reports.

  • Solar Production Ratios

The production ratio of any solar energy system is the estimated energy output (kWh) over time relative to its actual system size (W). This ratio is typically not 1:1 and varies based on factors like sunlight hours. For instance, a 10kW system producing 14kWh annually has a production ratio of 1:4.

Calculating the Solar Panels You Should Get

Now you know the main factors, like the energy use, solar panel rating, and production ratio, you can determine the estimated number of solar panel installations for your home. Here’s the formula:

Using the figures above, we get the this: Number of panels = 10,791kWh / 1.1 or 1.6 / 400W

So, this gives us a range of 17-25 panels in the solar array (or PV systems), depending on the production ratio (17 for 1.6 and 25 for 1.1). But for accuracy, it’s recommended to consult solar panel companies or ask your local solar installers for advice. 

solar panel installation company

Install Solar Panels With a Solar Panel Installation Company 

While you have an idea of the solar panels you need for your home, consulting with the Canadian Solar Industries Association or a solar panel installation company in British Columbia is advisable. 

The best solar companies are experts in renewable energy systems, like solar power systems and solar arrays, and are familiar with the solar panel technology that suits your home. If you want the best solar panel installation process with good solar equipment, trust MAG Solar for all solar panel services.

Frequently Asked Questions

After you install solar panels or solar PV systems, you’ll still have electricity bills, but they should be significantly reduced or close to zero. If your bills remain high despite having a solar energy system, reconsider the size of your solar power system, especially if you’ve added new electricity loads. 

For renewable energy, opting for a local power grid with solar batteries can be a good option to eliminate bills. Still, it’s better to remain grid-tied in most cases, even with battery storage and solar equipment.

Yes, installing solar panels can power your entire house, but not continuously. During the day, solar panel systems generate electricity to run your home, but you’ll likely use the grid energy at night. However, many solar companies offer net metering, allowing you to send extra solar energy to the grid for credits on your daily bill. 

Solar installers typically size the solar system to generate enough electricity to cover your daily usage, earning credits to offset costs later. To run your house entirely on solar energy, consider installing solar batteries to keep excess energy for nighttime use instead of sending it to the grid.

Yes, a solar panel installer can precisely estimate the required number of solar panels. With enough experience in solar panel installation, knowledge of solar panel systems, and access to advanced solar panel equipment in the solar industry, a solar panel installer understands the intricacies of solar power in your area and can design an optimal solar system to meet your specific needs and aligns with the principles of the BC Sustainable Energy Association.

Generally, the solar panel installation process involves these steps:

  1. The company assesses your energy needs and property to discuss solar installation options.
  2. The company creates a customized solar system for your home.
  3. Solar installation companies and other solar panel installers obtain the necessary permits to install solar panels.
  4. Solar installers will install panels using essential solar panel equipment.
  5. The system is connected to your home’s electrical system and the grid.
  6. You can monitor the solar energy performance.
  7. Regular maintenance ensures the solar panel systems work well.

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