Tired of paying big electricity bills in your Las Vegas home? It might be time to consider installing solar panels.
If you're thinking about adding solar panels to your house you might have asked yourself, how many solar panels do I need? There are a lot of factors that go into the answer to that question. Checking in with experts to get a consultation is the best way to get an accurate answer.
In the meantime, we've put together a guide to help you get started on working out how many panels you need.
Know Your Energy Needs
Before you talk to an expert or make your own rough estimate, you need to know all about your electricity usage. Pull out your old electricity bills. Audit your family's electricity usage.
In Las Vegas, you're likely running your air conditioning a lot. That means your energy needs are higher than in temperate states. If you have a large home with many appliances, you're also consuming a lot more energy than some people. There may be times of the year when you use more electricity. In Las Vegas, those times of the year are June, July, August, and September.
Your lifestyle and the climate of where you live directly affect how much electricity you use. That means they are the basis of determining how many solar panels you will need.
What is a Kilowatt Hour?
Time for some science. A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a measurement of energy. 1 kWh is the amount of energy used when a 1,000-watt appliance runs for 1 hour.
A central air conditioning system uses somewhere around 3,500 watts per hour or 3.5 kWh. A standard 60-watt lightbulb would need to be on for more than 58 hours to use up the same amount of electricity.
Knowing what a kilowatt hour is and understanding how it affects you is important to work out how many solar panels you will need.
This knowledge will help you understand which appliances use more electricity than others. You'll also learn how to manage those high-usage appliances. Once you have this information you may find you adjust your electricity needs. Doing that will change the number of solar panels you need for your home.
Every electricity bill you get lists the number of kWh you use. Taking the time to audit your family's electricity usage will give you a rough guide to use when estimating how many panels you need.
How Much Power Does a Solar Panel Produce?
At a very rough estimate, and depending on where you live, one 250-watt panel will provide about 1kWh a day. If you use 30kWh a day in your home you would need 30 250-watt solar panels to cover 100 percent of your electricity needs.
That calculation is why it's important to know your average kWh.
The number of panels you need also depends on where you live. Fortunately, because Las Vegas has so many sunny days, you will need fewer panels than someone in upstate New York, for example.
Grid-tied solar systems are what most people in Las Vegas use. These systems "pay" solar-generated electricity back into the main electricity grid.
If you don't use all the electricity generated from your solar panels, the excess goes back into the grid. You'll get credit from the electric company as a result. If you need more electricity than your panels provide, you can still get it from the grid. You'll be charged for it, of course. But your monthly bill will be much lower than if you had no panels at all.
When installing solar panels in grid-tied systems it's important to consider how much of your monthly electricity usage you want the panels to cover. If you install enough solar panels to cover 100 percent of your family's electric usage you'll rarely, if ever, need to buy electricity from the grid. You might even get some money back if you use less electricity for one month.
If you decide to go completely off the grid then the answer to how many solar panels do I need is, enough to cover every bit of electricity you use. You will probably need to have more panels than you might think. That way you can cover any unexpected surges in usage.
If you're already off the grid you won't have monthly electric bills to use to see how much power you consume. If you want to use more solar power, you'll need to work with an expert to determine how many kWh you consume a day.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need Then?
Because of all the factors that go into determining how much electricity you use, it's hard to say with accuracy how many panels you'll need.
With the information in this guide, you can put together your own estimate. It's worth making that estimate because you'll have a much better idea of your energy usage. But, we do recommend talking to professionals to get an accurate number.
A professional consultant will consult with you and find out what you're using electricity for and how much. They will also factor in climate and weather fluctuations. And they'll look at what changes might occur in the future.
We want to make sure you get the best advice possible when you are trying to work out the answer to, how many solar panels do I need? If you want to add solar panels to your home, contact us today for complete, turn-key solutions to your solar power needs.