How Many Solar Panels Does It Take To Run a House Off-grid?
Are you a self-proclaimed off-grid living aficionado? Perhaps an ecologically concerned, forward-thinking person looking to lower your carbon footprint while saving money on your monthly power bills?
You might be wondering, can I go completely off-grid with solar panels? If so, how many solar panels would the average home need? Read on for comprehensive answers:
What Does It Mean To Go Off-grid?
Going off-grid involves disconnecting your home and all of its appliances from the national electricity system. If you’ve considered doing something like this, one of the top questions you probably have is: Can I go off-grid with solar panels?
Yes, you can. When it comes to producing and supplying your own electricity, solar panels may be the most accessible and efficient green technology available.
Then there’s the question of how many solar panels the average home requires. The solution, as you will soon discover, is quite complicated and dependent on your home’s specific energy requirements. Let’s get into it:
How Many Solar Panels Do You Need To Go Off-grid?
Before determining how many photovoltaic panels you’ll need to get off the grid, keep in mind that solar panels aren’t the only thing you’ll need. Firstly, you’ll need a place to store all of the solar energy that your solar panels generate. If you can achieve this, then you can sustain a healthy off-the-grid life.
Solar batteries are the best technology for storing your off-grid solar energy, just as solar panels are the most accessible and efficient for electricity production. So, with solar panels and some form of storage mechanism, you can effectively go off-grid.
Sizing Your Off-Grid System
The number of solar panels needed to go off-grid solely depends on the following factors:
- Amount of Electrical Energy Needed
To rely totally on its own energy output, the average off-grid home requires roughly 7 kW (or 7,000 Watts) of power. While numerous factors influence the amount of electricity a solar panel can generate, in Australia, a typical single solar panel can provide roughly 2 kWh per day. This, however, is dependent on each panel’s performance output.
- Size of Available Useable Roof Space
The more space available, the more solar cells you can install, resulting in higher performance. If your energy needs were the same as the average (7 kW) and you used 200-watt solar panels, you’d need about 35 panels to get off the grid.
Alternatively, 20 350-watt solar panels would suffice. To estimate how much space 35 solar panels will take up, multiply the square meterage of each by the number. To work backward, establish your roof size and divide that by the square meterage of each solar panel. This way you can learn how many will fit.
If your roof space is the standard size which is usually around 160 square metres, 35 solar panels will take up around 36 square metres of roof space. This gives you plenty of room if you decide to add more panels to your system in the future.
- Amount of Direct Daily Sunlight
Solar panels use a combination of direct and indirect sunlight as inputs to generate electricity. Photons are carried by both types of sunlight, which the solar panels convert into electric current. In the absence of direct sunshine, however, there will be a reduction in performance, therefore necessitating more solar panels.
Granted, the sun’s beams are the most direct and strong when it is directly overhead. The intensity of the light drops as the sun hits the panel at a lower angle, resulting in a lower power generation. A solar panel receiving this light produces less electricity meaning you’ll need more panels or a larger output capacity.
- The Type of Solar Panel You Choose
Solar panels come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. The amount of solar panels you’ll need is determined by the performance output of each panel. The panel’s performance is measured under standard testing settings (STC), which include 1,000 W/m2 of irradiance, an AM 1.5 solar spectrum, and a module temperature of 25 °C.
Generally, the larger the panel, the better its performance. A 100-watt solar panel, for example, is 47 x 21,3 x 14 inches in size. On the other hand, the dimensions of a 200-watt solar panel are 64 x 26 x 14 inches although these are rough estimates.
How Can I Calculate How Many Solar Panels I Will Need? A 5 Step Process
Step 1: Determine how much electricity you consume.
Step 2: Determine how much sunlight your area receives.
Step 3: Determine how big of a solar system you’ll need to go off the grid.
Step 4: Determine how many solar panels you’ll need to go completely off the grid.
Step 5: Contact a solar panel installation expert like GCR Electrical systems for a comprehensive analysis.
Contact GCR Electrical Systems Today
Does the process seem more complex than you expected? Don’t fret! Our highly skilled and knowledgeable electrical contractors are completely licensed and trained to handle all of your residential and business electrical needs.
If you are looking for a trusted local solar company in Hervey Bay, please contact us today at GCR Electrical Systems on (07) 4120 7004 or leave an enquiry if you would like more information about our solar installation services.