Calculating the Savings: How Much Total Solar Panel Output Do You Need?

Calculating the Savings: How Much Total Solar Panel Output Do You Need?

Solar panels don’t just benefit the environment.

There are some powerful financial incentives to go down the green path. Many homeowners seek to make savings over a long haul and boost household budgets. This is a sound game plan.

Utility prices are volatile and in many places, less than affordable. To make things worse, utility rate inflation is on a steady upward trajectory.

Alas, the truth is calculations can get complicated and ballpark figures don’t cut it.

Apart from factors like geographic location, solar panel output is the key part of the equation. This is tied to the question of how many and what kind of panels you should install.  We’re going to cover these and other related aspects in this article.

So, without further ado, let’s get down to business.

The Numbers Game

The upfront costs associated with a solar system can be unpleasant.

In the US, the price of an average installation is between $11,411 and $14,874. This covers the costs of the equipment itself, as well as its installation. And that’s all after tax credits.

To get it down to more exact numbers, employ online resources. For instance, this guide can help you find out whats the cost of solar installation.

Beyond these upfront costs, you should be aware of the added electricity costs. They always kick in when you’re not able to completely supplement your electricity use. At the same time, notice the bill doesn’t vanish as long as your property is grid-connected.

The scope of the investment may seem discouraging, but the point is to set your eyes on the long-term horizon. Over their lifetime, solar panel systems can save between $10,000 and $30,000. The wide range is a product on many factors, such as different electricity rates.

Besides, with solar power, you effectively lock in energy costs at a constant rate. You don’t have to worry about electricity price fluctuations and increase.  Some states and governments also offer tax rebates and other incentives to homeowners.

They decrease the quotes from solar installers.

Estimating the Demand                               

Financial benefits hinge on a complex matrix of different factors.

That is to say that there’s a whole lot of ground to cover. The first step is to work out how much electricity your household uses on average.

Simply inspect the past utility bills. The main item to focus on is “Kilowatt Hours (kWh) Used” for a period, which is usually a month. You want to use the figure to calculate daily and hourly usage.

To be more precise, divide monthly or yearly average by 30 and 365 respectively. The average home in the US consumes 913 kWh on a monthly basis. Tennessee leads the list of the biggest spenders, while Hawaii residents use the least amount of electricity.

Next off, take a look at how much money you spend on electricity on average. This will be crucial in later calculating how much you are likely to save. Here, you want to assume the rates are going to go up in the years to come.

If they fall into the middle or upper tier, then solar power is a low-risk investment for you. On the other hand, low rates decrease the amount of savings you can score.

Solar Panel Output Mathematics

Furthermore, take into account your roof’s usable area, as well as its tilt angle and azimuth.

These factors can limit your options in terms of panel size and number. They also determine whether you are able to completely offset electricity needs or not.

Speaking of which, this would be the time to figure out how many panels you need and how much output that is. All panels have a power rating expressed in watts. It’s the indication of direct current (DC) power they are capable of generating.

They are a product of panel size and their technological prowess. It goes without saying the efficiency and quality of products vary wildly.

Therefore, do your research and shop around for the best deals. Make sure to check the wattage and photovoltaic efficiency of the panels. Battery storage capacity is important as well as you can’t readily use all the energy you harness.

Feel free to use online solar calculators or consult with solar panel installers. They can do the tedious calculations for you.

In general, it makes financial sense to install a system with as much output as is feasible. This shortens the payback period and increases potential savings.

A Matter of Geography

You have to use the power rating in conjunction with other elements we listed in this guide.

This is the only way to calculate the output in real-world conditions.

For instance, a 5kW system generates 6,000 kWh in the Boston region. However, in California, that figure can go up to 8,000 kWh.

That brings us to the next key aspect, which is the climate in your area. Namely, panels don’t operate at peak efficiency at all times. You have to find out how many sunny days and direct hours of sunlight there are.

You may be wondering now, what about the nighttime? Well, note that a policy called net metering is in place in most states.

It means you can pull energy from the grid at night and possibly not pay anything. This is under the condition that the amount matches how much you give to the grid (a surplus you don’t consume). Net metering credits are displayed on your electricity bill.

This consideration rounds up the equation and brings you to the footsteps of making an educated decision.

Sow the Seeds of Greener Future

Trimming electricity bills is an essential part of solar panels’ appeal.

In some cases, it’s possible to eliminate the bill altogether – that’s nothing short of a dream come true for many people. Still, the path to desired returns can be thorny.

You want to do your homework and run the numbers before taking the plunge.

Start by getting the priorities straight. Determine how much power you want and are realistically able to generate.  See where you stand in terms of current electricity expenditure. 

Factor in sunlight and temperature conditions, as well as roof size. Pay close attention to solar panel output and solar panel efficiency. Don’t rush things if you mean to get the most bang for your buck. Check out our most recent posts to gather even more knowledge. It’s time to supercharge your green strategy.