Installing solar can assist your company in meeting both its financial and sustainability goals. Whether you’re looking to save money, maximize return on investment, or reduce your carbon footprint, the size of your solar array can play an integral part in achieving your desired outcome. When considering solar as an investment, it is critical to understand how many panels you will require.
Your necessary system size can be determined using the following calculation: System size (annual electricity usage) divided by production ratio, divided by panel wattage. Your annual electricity usage is determined by the amount of energy you consume over the course of one year in kWh. You can find this information by examining previous utility bills and taking note of your average electricity usage per month and per year. The production ratio is a ratio of the estimated energy output of a system in kWh to the actual system size in W. This ratio depends on the amount of sunlight received by the array, and typically works out to be between 1.3 and 1.6. Finally, solar panel wattage is defined as the electricity output of a solar panel under ideal conditions and is typically between 250 and 400 W.
The size of your solar array also depends on several outside factors, including system efficiency, hours of sunlight, solar panel wattage, and solar panel size. Solar panels do not draw the sun’s energy at top capacity, typically being around 29% efficient. Experts recommend allowing for a 25% cushion to protect you from times of potential reduced efficiency. Additionally, more panels will be needed for people living in areas without long hours of sunshine. The amount of energy your panels need to produce every hour can be calculated using the following equation: hourly usage times 1000 divided by number of daily peak sunlight hours for your area. In order to find hourly usage, if not explicitly defined on the electric bill, you can simply divide your monthly generation by 30 and then again by 24. Solar panel wattage typically ranges from 150 to 350 watts per panel. Choosing lower wattage panels means you will need more in order to generate the same amount of electricity. Finally, the size of solar panels can affect system production. If you have a large, flat roof you may choose to buy larger, less efficient panels, which sacrifices efficiency for cost. Using smaller, higher efficiency panels may be the best way to generate the most possible power in the long-term.
Inconsistent power production can be mitigated by having storage methods, allowing you to compensate by storing power you are not using at one time to use at another time. Otherwise, return on investment can be maximized by selling unused power back to the grid so you can draw power later without cost.
Thankfully, SolBid will quickly and accurately determine the amount of solar panels needed for your company based on your previous utility bills so you do not need to worry about these calculations. SolBid will also assist in partnering you with a reliable solar panel installation company so you will be certain you are getting correctly sized, high quality and high efficiency solar panels to maximize return on investment and allow you to achieve your efficiency goals.