From reducing your carbon footprint to cutting your utility costs, the shift to a solar system is rewarding. As technology evolves, the process of going solar becomes easier; photovoltaic systems and solar panels can now be easily installed, maintained, and utilized. They also guarantee long-term durability, operation, cost-effectiveness, and energy cuts. Going solar is a comparatively easy process; however, the trickiest part may be sizing your solar system. You don’t want to install a system that doesn’t support all your solar needs or invest more money in one that leaves you with a surplus. To make the most out of your system, you need to purchase one that suits your needs. Here are simple tips that will help you calculate your solar needs.

Solar panels

Solar System Sizing

To be able to calculate your solar needs, you must understand the factors that may restrain the process. Generally, there are three factors that may affect your ability to go solar and determine the size of your system. The first aspect to put into consideration is your financial situation; do you have a specific budget that you have to operate within? If you have limited space, you may also be restricted by the idea of building a space-efficient solar system. If you want to build a system that equalizes or counteracts a certain percentage of your current energy consumption, this is also something that can put constraints on the sizing of your system. Once you have considered these three key points, you should also take the level of sun exposure, tilt angle, the product’s ratings, possible expansion, and depreciation of the system’s performance into account. 

Determining Energy Use

Now that you have taken note of any factors that may affect the sizing of your solar system, you need to estimate your current energy consumption. You need to start by calculating your kilowatt-hours usage. For accurate results, you need to collect the past year’s worth of electric bills. This will help you gather insight regarding the peaks and troughs in your energy consumption throughout the course of one year. You will notice a seasonal alternation pattern during different seasons because of the use of air conditioning in summertime and heating systems during the winter. The next step is to calculate your monthly average kWh consumption. Now that you have the total of your kilowatt-hours usage over the course of 12 months, you should divide that number by 12 to find out your average monthly consumption. You should keep in mind that with maximum sun exposure during the summer, the system tends to overproduce. To find out your daily energy usage, divide the last number by 30. 

Solar panels

You can also lookup your home appliances’ power consumption to determine the amount of energy that each appliance consumes. The Seattle-based solar energy specialist at also suggests that you find out whether your utility offers an advantageous net metering policy. If this is the case, your utility can credit you with the energy that your system will produce. You should ask your local provider as not all utility companies give solar users credit. Afterward, you need to find out the sun’s peak hours in your area for optimal solar power. You can browse through a sun chart to find out how many hours the sun produces peak sunlight according to your location and its climate. Do the same for the nearest city as well. 

Sizing Your Solar System

Now that you have your kilowatt-hours usage and your peak sunlight hours, you can find out the required size of your solar panels. What you need to do is find out the kW output by dividing your daily kWh energy consumption by your peak sun hours. To get the approximate number of needed solar panels, you need to divide the kW output by the efficiency of your chosen panel. As mentioned above, you need to consider the amount of space available, as well as your roof’s tilt angle. These numbers will come in handy when you want to figure out how much energy your system will generate each month. This is important because it allows you to determine the efficiency of your chosen system using a PV watts calculator before committing to it. Make sure to select the right array type, selecting either “open” if you have ground mounts or “fixed” if your mounts are on the rooftop. Enter your roof’s slope and enter 15% at the system losses. 

Calculating your solar needs is vital when you are planning to go solar. This prevents you from investing in an inefficient system. It also guarantees that you’ll get the best out of your solar panels. If you follow these simple tips, your system will be durable and efficient for years to come.