5 things to consider when choosing the number of solar panels for your home
The number of solar panels you need to install will depend on factors such as your electricity consumption, the space available on your roof and, of course, your budget. In Australia, the average number of solar panels, according to household size, are:
- Small household (1-2 people) – 8 solar panels with 2kW capacity
- Medium household (2-3 people) – 14 solar panels with 4kW capacity
- Large household (more than four people) – 24 solar panels with over 5kW capacity
5 solar panel installation considerations
Here are three crucial things to consider when deciding on the number of solar panels for your home
1. Household electricity consumption
When going solar, the objective is to generate at least as much electricity as you consume. Therefore, the more electricity your family needs, the bigger your solar system should be.
The easiest way to configure your average daily usage is to review your electricity bills over the last 12 months. If you have a smart meter installed, you can check your daily usage by simply logging into your online account.
Average household electricity consumption
Your power consumption is measured in kilowatt-hours or kWh. A typical Australian home consumes around 15 to 20 kilowatt-hours per day. However, this number may vary depending on the number of people living in the house and what appliances operate on electricity.
For example, a couple will typically use about 10–24kWh per day on average, while a household of five people with a swimming pool might consume around 30–40kWh per day.
Time of day and season
Some days are more power-hungry than others – your home might be empty during weekdays with everyone at work or school, while the weekend is a full blast with everyone at home. Also, most households consume more power in the summer with air conditioners and during winter running heaters, but winter will cause heating bills.
Your solar system is going to be on your roof for at least two decades. So, when choosing the number of panels to install, you should also factor in how much electricity you anticipate consuming in the future. These include:
- Switching to a work-from-home lifestyle.
- Starting a family.
- Adding a swimming pool.
- Switching from gas to electric for cooking and hot water.
- Getting an electric car.
You can always go for more panels, as long as they fit your roof and your budget.
Most freestanding houses in Australia have enough roof space to support the number of solar panels that the household needs. However, roofs with an unusual pitch or heavy shade might reduce your available roof space. Experienced, qualified solar installers can work around this by mounting solar panels on brackets to find the correct angle and wind direction.
Solar panel orientation
Ideally, your solar panels should be facing north to maximise the amount of sunlight available. But that is not always possible, and, in fact, installers now recommend a mix of north-east and north-west orientations. This may generate a slightly lower amount of electricity in the middle of the day but will produce more in the morning and late afternoon when electricity consumption is high.
Don’t worry if your only available roof space faces south, as panels can still produce about 80% of their rated power in this direction.
Keep in mind that solar panels cannot generate as much electricity in the shade, so check how many shadows you have on your roof. DC optimisers and microinverters are the best solutions for partially shaded roofs. These technologies allow each panel to work independently, so that the other panels are not affected if one panel is impacted by shade, bird droppings, or leaf litter.
Obviously, the more solar panels you install, the more it will cost you. So, before deciding on a solar system, set a budget that you can afford and try to stay within your limit without sacrificing quality. Talk to the team at Aztech Solar about the financial options for your solar panels and installation.
Don’t forget to take into consideration the savings you will make back over time. Solar panels generate electricity whenever the sun is up, so any excess power that you do not consume will be sold back to the grid. Your retailer will pay you around 5c to 10c for every kWh of power that you send back.
If you consume electricity mostly at night, you will not reap the financial benefits of a solar system. To maximise your savings, you need to consume the electricity your panels generate and reduce the amount you send back.
A clever design from an experienced solar installer Aztech Solar can help with this: For families that run their air conditioners, heaters, or cooking appliances later in the day, one solution is to install solar panels facing west to increase afternoon production.
Load shifting is another trick to consuming more electricity during the day. This will set your dishwashers, washing machines, and swimming pool cleaners to run while solar PV output is at its highest.
Talk to a couple of solar installers to get a detailed quote. A good installer can help you figure out your average daily consumption and find the right solar system to suit your power needs and match your roof space.
If you have been thinking of going solar, now is the best time to do it. Solar panels, and even solar batteries, have become more affordable compared to a decade ago and most solar and battery packages could pay for themselves in around 6 to 10 years.
On top of that, financing options are available, so you do not have to shoulder the entire upfront cost. This way, you can start saving with your solar system now and pay it off over time.
Speak to Aztech Solar about switching to solar for your home’s future
If you still have no idea where to start, we can help. Here at Aztech Solar, we are ready to work with you to design a bespoke solar power system that suits your personal needs. Unlike other providers, we treat every transaction as solar advocacy and not an opportunity to make a sale. We’ll help inform you about the benefits of solar power and what solution will work best for you.
If you are looking for energy-saving solutions that are reliable, affordable, and installed with industry-leading warranties, then you’ve come to the right place. Aztech Solar is the trusted name in solar power in Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Port Stephens and Central Coast. Call us today on 02 4067 2643 or click here for a FREE onsite quote and a member of our team will contact you right back.