How many solar panels are needed to run a house?

Like shopping for the perfect pair of shoes or choosing the right car for your family, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to solar. 

A 5kW solar system (or around 15-20 solar panels) is usually big enough for the average Australian home but, as a general rule, it doesn’t hurt to put as many solar panels on your roof as will fit.

However choosing the right sized solar system really depends on how much electricity you use, how much (unshaded) roof space you have, your budget and your goals (why are you getting solar panels?).

There’s not much point getting solar panels if you don’t install enough to cover your electricity needs. Equally, you don’t want to waste money on a solar system that’s too big for you.

So how do you determine how many solar panels are needed to run your house?

How much electricity do you use?

The goal is to size a solar system to match, if not slightly exceed, your household’s electricity usage. Ideally you want your solar system to generate enough electricity to cover your needs and then some. 

In doing so, it’s important to plan ahead – will your family grow over the coming years or are you considering getting an electric vehicle?

How much unshaded roof space do you have available?

Ultimately, we can only fit as many solar panels on your roof as there is space available. Solar panels are usually about 1.7m x 1m.

In calculating the size of your roof, it’s important to also consider shading. If you have a large tree or power lines nearby that cast shade onto part of your roof, we’ll either need to adapt your solar system accordingly or avoid these areas altogether.

How much are you looking to spend?

The larger the solar system, the more you’ll pay. So budget will play a role in determining the size of your solar system. 

Like with most purchases, there are budget solar panels that cost less than tier 1 panels. However it’s never worth trading quality for cheaper solar panels. A solar system is a 25+ year investment. It’s important to get a reliable solar system that will perform over the long term.

You can read more about the payback period for a solar system here.

What are you hoping to achieve by getting solar panels?

Some people get solar panels purely to save money. For others, it’s about becoming more energy independent or for the environmental benefits. 

Your motivation for going solar may impact how many panels you need. For example, if you want to be self-sufficient, you may want to get a larger solar system and a battery so you can use your solar power day and night. 

Get a free quote and expert advice

At Solar Flow, we walk all of our clients through a one-on-one energy consultation in order to design the best solar system for their circumstances.

Taking into account your electricity consumption, roof layout, goals and budget, our experienced specialists will guide you every step of the way, working with you to design the perfect solar system for your family.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with us today for a free, no obligation quote. Call us on 1300 93 14 24 to learn more.

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