How to Determine the Right Size for Your Solar PV System
A highly efficient solar photovoltaic (PV) system for your home makes good sense for many reasons including saving money on utility bills, adding to the appraised value of your home and letting you do your part in using a clean energy source.
Here are some tips on determining the right size for your solar PV system and other helpful information.
Know your electricity costs
In figuring out how much solar power you need, start by learning how much electricity you used during the past year, as measured in kilowatt hours. Your utility company may provide these numbers as a complimentary service.
How much do you want to offset?
When you know what a “typical” year of electrical usage looks like for your home, you can then decide how much of this you want to offset with your solar system. Most residential solar systems aren’t installed with the goal of completely replacing electrical power but rather offsetting a percentage of it.
You’ll get more energy from solar panels that are placed to receive the highest possible amount of sunlight. Generally, you’ll generate 1 kilowatt of electricity per 100 square feet of solar panels. Assuming optimal sunlight, typically small residential PV systems start at about 50 square feet and go up to 1,000 square feet.
Different generation levels in solar PV modules
The actual PV modules used in a solar system will affect how much power is generated. Here are some names to familiarize yourself with:
- Monocrystalline (single-cell) panels: considered to have the highest peak efficiency
- Polycrystalline (multiple-cell) panels: Also highly efficient, especially on cloudy days
- Thin film (amorphous) panels: Very flexible but not as efficient as polycrystalline panels
- Nanotechnology: Technology used by scientists to up the output of many different kinds of solar cells
Your geographic location matters
Different regions require different sizes of solar systems – talk with a professional installer about “standard” system sizes in your area. In addition, your home itself may have limited ideal roof space for panels, creating the need to move up to more efficient soar cells.
Get good advice
When done right, solar is a smart move. The key is to understand the basics before talking with installation contractors, and then ask plenty of questions to make sure you’re getting a system that will meet your budget, needs and expectations. In doing your homework, don’t forget about the federal solar Investment Tax Credit, which allows homeowners to claim a 30% credit on their income taxes for an installed solar system.
Burlington Fireplace & Solar of Wisconsin is ready to help you get started with a new solar PV system for your house. We have the answers you need and will work with you every step of the way, from planning to expert installation. Find out how great going solar can be by calling (262) 763-3522.