Solar Panels – How Much Energy Will My Home Need?


If you are planning to install a residential solar energy system in your home, you will need to determine your current energy consumption. This information can usually be obtained from the local electric company. Using this as a basis, you will be able to design your solar energy system to match the needs of your home. Your area’s climate will have an effect on energy use, as well as the direction your windows face, the number and placement of your trees, and the types of appliances you use.

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Even the kind of light bulbs used can make a difference. The annual temperature extremes in the geographical region you live in will be a large factor. Living in an region with temperature extremes will use more energy to heat or cool your home than living in a moderate climate. South facing windows in a cold climate can help reduce your heating bills. North facing windows in a hot climate can lower cooling costs.

Mature trees can shade your home in the summer, lowering cooling costs, while the denuded limbs in the winter let in sunlight. These factors can all affect the amount of energy you use. And having energy-efficient insulation in your roof, walls and floors can help lower energy costs in all climates. If possible, use only energy efficient appliances. Newer appliance models can consume as much as 50% less energy than older models, particularly if they need to be repaired and are not working at maximum efficiency. Changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs also makes a significant impact on decreasing electricity use.

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After you have evaluated your house for these factors, you can plan your solar photovoltaic system by multiplying your average daily kilowatt hour consumption by about .25. This will help you estimate the daily kilowatts the solar panels have to produce to maintain your current energy needs.

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