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How Much Solar Power Do We Need?
Now we are interested in solar energy and ready to get a solar panel or starter solar kit. Before purchasing, we need to know:
- How much energy our RV/household uses;
- How big the areas we could install the solar panels;
- How many hours of sunlight can we expect in our area;
- How big the solar power kit we would need.
1. How much energy our RV/household uses?
The first thing we need to know is how much KiloWatt-Hours (kWh) do we use per month. We can look at the past utility bills to get the exact amount.
Then we think about what percentage of power do we want to offset with solar panels?
Finally, we would know how many kWh we need to generate by solar energy.
2. How big the areas we could install the solar panels?
Then we need to calculate how much area we can use to install the solar panel kit.
Make sure the roof is face to the sun and would not be covered in shade most of the day. It also needs to have a good structurally shape that would support solar panels in a long time life. And then we size how big the useful area we can install.
3. How many hours of sunlight can we expect in our area?
Now we need to figure out the climate and peak sunlight in our area. The Renewable Resource Data Center provides sunlight information by state and for major cities.
The peak sunlight hours for a particular location will have a direct impact on the energy we expect the solar system to produce.
For example, if we live in Los Angeles, then we can expect to have a greater number of peak sunlight hours than lived in Portland. That doesn’t mean a Portland homeowner can’t go solar, it just needs more solar panels.
Then we need to multiply the usage per hour (we get from utility bills) by 1,000 to convert the hourly power generation to watts.
Divide the average hourly wattage requirement by the number of daily peak sunlight hours for our area, to get the amount of energy our panels need to produce every hour.
So the average U.S. home (900 kWh/month) in an area that gets daily five peak sunlight hours would need 6,250 watts.
4. How big the solar power kit we would need?
Now we can choose our solar panel kit.
If you work with ECO-WORTHY, our solar experts will handle all these calculations for you. But if you want to learn how to customize your own solar panel kit, here is a sample that how a solar professional might do to figure it out:
Best Solar Panel System Size = Daily Watts* 1.4/ 4 Hours
* Under 4 Hours Full Sunlight