If you have decided to shift to solar energy to meet your energy needs, you have made the right decision. Not only has solar technology progressed multi-fold in the past few years, but you’ll also save extensively on your energy costs in the long term. The next obvious step is to look up the most common solar panel wattage sizes.
You must have come across different solar panel sizes when you started looking up options. However, not all of them are equally in demand. For this article, we’ll present a few goals and let you know which wattage sizes are the most popular for those specific goals.
Why It’s Important to Know about Wattage Sizes
Before discussing the most common solar panel wattage sizes, we’ll look at why we need to do so.
Wattage determines the maximum total output a panel will produce when it gets the perfect sunlight. You need to get the wattage right; otherwise, ending up with a lower or higher wattage size will result in consumption inefficiency.
For example, getting the maximum possible size (415-watt) for powering only your camping lighting is inefficient. You can easily manage to run those with 200-watt or smaller solar panels. The opposite also holds. Trying to power your house using 45-watt solar panels is simply not going to help you get any consumption needs to be met.
The Most Common Solar Panel Wattage Sizes
Based on the different consumption goals, the following are some of the most common solar wattage sizes.
The most common solar panel wattage sizes for residential buildings are between 230 watts – 275 watts. If you plan to shift your energy consumption entirely to solar energy and have average energy consumption, you’ll need about 28 to 34 solar panels to cover all your energy needs.
However, this is a basic estimate and depends on various factors that we have discussed below. So, do check it before making decisions.
Commercial properties consume more energy compared to residences. They typically require up to 10 extra solar panels on average or more if the property is large. The average wattage can be the same as that of residences. However, SunPower produces high power and efficient solar panels wattage between 327 watts – 345 watts is becoming a game-changer.
Typically, the higher size will allow them to get the output they need using fewer panels than they would otherwise have used.
The most common solar panels wattage sizes for a recreational purpose like supporting your camping trips’ power needs, running your RV, etc. are 100 watts and 200 watts. Four panels of 100 watts or two of 200 watts can cover all your energy needs during a recreational trip.
How to Calculate How Much Wattage or Panels You Need
Besides knowing the most common solar panel wattage sizes, you also need to know your energy consumption patterns to know what wattage or how many panels you’ll need. Following are the main factors that will affect your decision:
1. Energy Consumption of Your Household
Your household’s energy consumption determines how many solar panels are required and which wattage size will be suitable for your use. This process is simple but somewhat lengthy.
- Get a pen and paper and identify all items in your household that utilize electricity.
- For each appliance or item, multiply their energy usage by the total number of hours they remain operational in a single day (24 hours).
- After you have the daily numbers for each appliance, add them to have your daily consumption.
- Multiply this number by 365 to get the annual consumption.
Knowing your annual consumption will help you know how much energy you use on average and help you determine what output you’ll need.
Alternatively, you can also look through your electricity bills for the previous year and add the energy consumed for each month to know how much you consume. We suggest using this method because consumption changes seasonally, and looking at actual consumption might give you a more realistic idea.
2. Roof Size
No matter how much energy you consume, if your roof can’t accommodate more than a specific number of solar panels, you’ll need to let go of shifting entirely to solar power.
If the difference is minor and your initial plan involved solar panels with 275 watts or less, we suggest that you get solar panels with a higher individual output.
You’ll also need to make sure you place solar panels on the side of the roof facing the sun to maximize the total energy absorption.
3. Weather Conditions
If you live in a sunny place like Yuma, Las Vegas, or Redding, you have nothing to worry about. You’ll likely get a lot of sunshine for the entire year to help you live comfortably.
However, if you live in Seattle, Portland, or Cleveland, you’re already thinking about the sheer number of times the sun stays hidden behind clouds. If your region does not get enough sun, you’ll need to get more solar panels installed to capture as much sunlight as possible during the day.
4. % of Consumption Shift to Solar
Lastly, the wattage size or number of panels you need also depends on how much of your energy consumption you’re hoping to shift to solar. Several people have started living with hybrid systems in which part of their households runs on solar power while the rest uses regular electricity.
If you also want to keep a hybrid system, you can easily choose to install fewer solar panels with the standard wattage size.
To conclude, the most common solar panel wattage sizes depend on your consumption goal is. We hope you gained knowledge while reading our article and can now determine the right solar panel wattage sizes and numbers for yourself.
We also have several other informative blogs about solar energy that you can check out to get more information about living with this sustainable source of energy.