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How to Size a Solar System (Comprehensive Guide)

1st March 2022  

Due to the high demand and lower electricity supply, the costs have increased immensely. As a result, many individuals, particularly homeowners, are exploring alternative energy sources. This is where solar energy comes into the scene.

A home solar system needs to be installed to harness the solar energy and convert it to electricity. The latest Solar panels and photovoltaic (PV) systems available in the market are simple to set up, manage and operate, and they provide long-term performance and energy savings. However, if you want to make the most of it, you will have to find the right size of solar system to be installed at home.

Finding the correct solar system size helps you cover your energy demand patterns without oversizing your PV array. Follow these steps to get a sizing estimate, assess your solar needs, and select the right panels for your solar installation.

Getting Started with Solar System Sizing

Three major constraints can be utilized as a starting point for the design:

  1. Create a system that fits well within your budget.

  2. Choose a system that takes the least amount of space possible.

  3. Build a mechanism to offset a given amount of your energy consumption.

Along with these major factors, there are some other sizing issues and common stumbling blocks that may affect the size of the solar system:

  • The local level of sun exposure

  • The tilt angle of the array (orientation of the array)

  • Plans for expansion

  • Ratings of product efficiency

  • Natural deterioration of performance throughout the warranty period

Follow these procedures to calculate your home's average electricity consumption and PV needs before you get an answer to another important question: What size solar system do I need?

Calculate Your kWh Consumption

  • Take a look at your electric bill to see how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) you used. To look at peaks and valleys in usage across a year, you'll need a full year's worth of data. The use of your A/C and heating systems increases your energy consumption in the summer and winter.

  • Calculate your average monthly kWh consumption. To calculate your average monthly use, add up your kWh usage over the last 12 months and divide by 12. When the sun is at its strongest in the summer, your grid-tied system will likely overproduce.

  • Calculate your daily kWh use. To calculate your daily kWh usage, multiply by 30.

Find out when the sun is at its brightest at your place

The average peak solar hours vary greatly depending on where you live and how hot it is. To get the most of solar electricity, you'll need to figure out how many peak hours of sunlight you'll get:

  • Look up your peak sun hours on a sun hour’s chart to see how many hours the sun produces the most sunshine per day.

Figure out how big your solar system is

To determine the size of solar system, multiply your daily kWh energy needed by your peak sun hours to get the kW output. Then divide the kW output by the efficiency of your solar panels to get an estimate of how many solar panels you'll need for your system.

How to size a solar system?

In addition to all the factors mentioned above, you'll also want to consider the sort of roof mount you'll need and the direction your panels will face. You will have to find the right size panels to meet your design to make the solar system sizing estimate as precise as possible.

Choose a mount type

Since roof mounts are less expensive than other racks, they are the simplest and most cost-effective option. To see if you can use a roof mount, do the following:

  • Open Google Maps and look for the address. Check to determine if there are any viable south-facing roof mount possibilities. You'll need to tweak the system by adding more solar if the solar array can't face south at the appropriate angle. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, your solar system should aim toward the equator, seeking north-facing options instead.
  • The solar panels are often kept near the inverter and service panel because the roof slope is already set up for solar gain. This results in increased efficiency and lowers conduit and cable expenses.

  • Consider the ground or pole-mounted option if a roof mount isn't feasible. Unlike a sloped roof, you can install solar panels in any direction to maximize sun exposure on level ground.

Select the correct solar panels

Solar panel size is a significant issue when deciding on the size of a solar system if you have a small or odd-shaped roof. Consider the following factors:

  • You can get bigger panels (at a more affordable cost per panel) to get your desired energy result if you have a big functional roof area.

  • If your usable roof surface is restricted or partially shadowed, the most cost-effective and long-term answer will be to use fewer smaller high-efficiency panels. Later on, if your energy needs grow, you can install more panels.
Determine the output of the solar system

Use a PV watts calculator to figure out how much power your system will produce monthly after knowing how much space you have for solar panels and what angles and directions you'll be dealing with.

Choosing grid-tie solar equipment

Grid-tie solar equipment is the most popular renewable energy set up worldwide. They are the most cost-effective solar system type and are less prone to failure. Some people at home also use hybrid and off-grid systems, but grid-tied systems are the best choice! Net metering is a method in which grid-connected systems export excess electricity to the utility grid in exchange for bill credits. Before choosing the correct grid-tie solar equipment for your home, you should consider a few factors.

Of course, it is not easy to size a solar system correctly, and for the same reason, we recommend taking the help of an expert. Waaree has India's greatest solar PV module manufacturing capacity of 2 GW. You can contact Waaree, a leading provider of EPC services, project development, rooftop solutions, solar water pumps, and independent power generation in India.

So what are you waiting for? Visit their website if you’d like to know more about them.

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