Residential solar panel systems can be an effective way to bring down your electricity bills or even eliminate them.
Chances are you’d love never to pay a monthly electricity bill again—and that is possible with solar power—but how many panels will that take?
That answer varies by the household, and as some factors, like your roof’s sun exposure, are harder to quantify, you may even get different answers from the various local solar companies. The amount of energy a system produces doesn’t rely on the number of solar panels alone.
At Affordable Solar, we aim to offer reliable quotes. Here’s how we calculate how many solar panels are needed to power a house:
What Affects Solar Panel Efficiency?
Your household’s energy consumption directly dictates the solar system size you’ll need. On top of this, you also need to consider a few other factors:
- Local Weather: New Mexico enjoys 280+ days of sunshine, making it an excellent place to utilize a solar power system, but there are microclimates within the state that may be less ideal.
- Roof Direction: South-facing roofs get more sunlight. However, there are thousands of American homeowners that still enjoy significant savings despite not having south-facing roofs.
- Solar Panel Energy Production: Solar panels for homes produce different levels of energy, depending on their efficiency. High-efficiency panels produce more electricity and take up less space. If you have limited roof surface area or sub-optimal solar conditions, these are your best bet.
Calculating Your Power and Panel Needs
You can represent the energy absorbed and produced by solar panels in the form of kilowatts (kW.) The energy consumed by your household over a specific period can be expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh). By taking these two units, we can get the power production required to negate your average yearly consumption.
You can often find your kWh usage on your utility bill. For reference, one kWh is 1,000 watts. You’ll need to take your daily energy usage in kWh and divide it by the number of peak sunlight hours at your location to get the system size you need.
To find the number of panels necessary, simply multiply that number by 1,000 (to convert to watts) then divide by your desired panel wattage.
As an example, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2018 survey found that households in New Mexico consume an average of 7,668 kWh every year. Peak sun hours vary across the state, but for this example, let’s use Albuquerque, which averages 6.77 hours.
7,668/365 (daily usage) = 21.01/6.77 = a 3.1 kW system
3.1 x 1,000/250= 12.4
Without considering other factors like sunlight levels, solar panel efficiency, or roof orientation, it will take at least thirteen 250-watt panels to offset this energy use. Note that because this formula ignores so many factors, it provides a very rough estimate. We’re happy to provide you a more accurate quote.
Maybe you’re worried about the cost? Numerous federal and state tax programs can potentially help you save thousands.
Affordable Solar guarantees that the system we install will produce a certain amount of energy for the first 5 years. If the system does not perform the way we said it would, we will cover the difference in your utility bill. Most companies only offer this type of guarantee for the first year if at all.
Reaping the Full Benefits of Solar Energy
Our sunny weather, combined with the state’s net metering laws and tax incentives, makes New Mexico one of the best places to utilize solar power. If you’re wondering if the money you save using solar energy is well worth the initial investment—the average lifetime savings for solar use in New Mexico households is $74,107. A 3- to 5-kW system costs between $10,000-$18,000.
At Affordable Solar, we offer exceptional services at affordable rates. We have extensive experience setting up solar panels for homes and commercial buildings. We have installed over 2,500 arrays in New Mexico!
Interested in how much you can save with a solar-powered home? Feel free to contact us for a comprehensive quote.