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How to Size a Solar PV System for Your Home?


In recent years, with the increasingly mature industry, continuous breakthroughs in technology and continuous innovation in application, the rooftop solar pv system cost is becoming more and more people-friendly. And solar pv system has been integrated into people's daily life.

But before you hire a company to design and size your new solar panel system, it’s a good idea to do some homework beforehand to determine your home’s electricity consumption and PV needs for your area.

(1)Calculate your Home’s Electricity Usage

1.Collect your electricity bills for the past year so you can calculate your average monthly electricity usage. Calculating an average is essential because electricity use peaks in the hottest months due to the high air conditioning demand.

2.Add up the kWhs for all 12 months and divide that number by 12 to determine your average monthly energy consumption.

3.Divide the monthly figure by 30 to determine your daily kWh usage.

(2)Determine Insolation

1.Locate a solar insolation table online (see Resources) to determine the insolation, the average number of hours per day that the sun produces peak sunlight (or an accumulation of all sunlight equivalent to that amount of peak sunlight), for your area.

2.Find the nearest city to you on the table and write down the average daily figure. To determine specific insolation data for individual days of the year, use NASA’s Atmosphere-Ocean Model.

(3)Calculate Energy Needs

1.Plug the figure from Section 1, Step 3 “Daily kWh” into the following calculation. Use the average insolation value from Section 2, Step 2 for the “# hours” to determine how many kW you need your solar system to generate per day:Daily kWh / # hours = # kW

e.g. 12 / 4 = 3

2.Plug the answer from the previous step into the following calculation, which accounts for standard energy losses of solar PV systems:# kW x 1.3 (increase size of PV system by 30%) = # kW (actual size of PV system you need)

e.g. 3 x 1.3 = 3.9In this example, you would need a 3.9 kW solar PV system to satisfy your home’s energy needs.

(4)Total Number of Solar Panels

To calculate the size of your solar photovoltaic system, take your daily kWh energy requirement and divide by your peak sun-hours to get the kW output you need. Then divide the kW output by your panel’s efficiency to get the total number of solar panels for your system. After you know the number of panels you need, the next step is to determine if you can fit them all on your roof, and if you have the right kind of roof to mount panels on.


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