How to Use a Solar Panel Calculator
One of the most valuable tools you will use when you begin your search for the perfect solar energy system for your home is a solar panel calculator. This tool will help you determine how many solar panels are needed and what size they need to be. However, the first decision you will need to make is whether you want an off-grid or on-grid system.
Off-Grid or On-Grid?
An on-grid system means that your home is still connected to the electric company. This doesn’t mean that all of your electrical needs will still come from the power grid. It does mean that if your solar panel system cannot produce enough electricity to power your home, then the power grid will supply the rest.
An off-grid system means that you are completely reliant on alternative forms of energy for your home. There is no power to your home from the electric company. This is obviously the most expensive solar energy system to install. You can install battery banks to capture the excess electricity, but it won’t hold it forever. Another problem can be the weather. If there are several cloudy days in a row, you may not have enough electricity to power your home. For this reason, many homeowners choose to stay on-grid, but look to produce about 40-50 percent of their electricity through their solar panel system.
Using the Solar Panel Calculator
Now you can begin to determine how many solar panels you’ll need. When you use a solar panel calculator, there are several variables that you will need to know. First, you’ll need to know how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) your homes uses each month. You can find this on your monthly electric bill. For the most accurate results, you should add up the kWh’s that you used during a year’s time and divide it by twelve. This will give you the average amount needed each month. You will put this into the average kWh’s position on the solar panel calculator.
Next, determine how much of this amount you want to generate with your solar energy system. If you want to produce enough electricity to cover half of your electrical bill, then divide the kWh’s by two. You can play with this number until you find the right amount for your family’s budget.
The next question on the solar panel calculator will deal with how many hours of sun your home receives each day. You can search online to find this number based upon your zip code. Sometimes, you may be asked to enter the size or the wattage of the solar panels you want to use. This is done by taking the total amount of wattage you need and dividing it by the wattage produced by the panels.
It’s important to remember that the information generated by a solar panel calculator is only as good as the information you put into it. However, if it’s done correctly, then you will know the total wattage of the solar panels that you need and how many solar panels you will need to purchase.
A good solar panel calculator can really make it easy to determine how much your solar energy system will cost. It’s a terrific tool to help you decide how much energy you want your system to produce. You’ll be ready to start saving money on your electric bill in no time at all.
Solar Panel Calculator Tip #1
You should know the area of your roof that is available to sunlight. This will give you a good idea of how many solar panels can be installed.
Solar Panel Calculator Tip #2
Even if you will be using a contractor to install you panels, you should use a solar panel calculator so you have a good idea of what is needed for your system and for your budget.
Solar Panel Calculator Tip #3
There are many different types of calculators online. You may find that some offer different results than others. Look for those that are on reputable sites, such as those that deal only with providing information on solar energy and its benefits.