I’d love to be able to tell you how many solar panels a 1500 sqft house needs… but unfortunately, you’re asking the wrong question. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what size your house is. It matters how much energy you use.
The cost of your system (how many panels you need) depends on YOUR energy use and the efficiency of those panels in the area where you live.
However, if you’re just looking for a rough estimate.. you can probably expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $9,255 – $28,000 for a professionally installed system.
This comes out to around $0.08-$0.10 per kwh, and the average American home uses somewhere around 10,649kwh of energy per year.
BUT, how do you figure out YOUR average kwh energy usage per year? EASY! All you need to do is refer to your electric bill. However, make sure that you use the average for the entire year and not for just a month. Energy needs vary from month to month and you want to get accurate estimates of your yearly usage.
Can You Save By Installing It Yourself?
Plenty of people install their own solar systems, especially if they are interested in living off-grid. The estimated costs for a DIY solar panel set kit is in the ballpark of $8,500 – $15,000 depending on your needs.
However, make sure to do your research before you jump in! There’s a lot to learn about buying solar panels:
- The number of panels you need depends on location
As we discussed in another article, the number of panels you need varies based on location. Some locations in the US, namely the South West, just get a LOT more sun light hours than other places. That means you’ll need less panels in those areas, and MORE panels in areas with less sunlight hours to gather the energy you need.
- The number of panels you need depends on wattage
Solar panels are NOT created equal! Many of the packages you’ll find online contain only smaller 100 watt panels. This is fine for a boat or a camper with smaller energy needs, but for a house… you’re gonna need a TON of those. If you’re buying for a home, it’s recommended to look for 400 watt panels or greater.
- Your power storage depends on how good your batteries are
You want to have power at night too right? Well, when the sun’s not shining you’ll need to draw from your batteries. If you use a lot of power at night and your batteries are not up to the task.. it’s lights out for you friend.
- Your power efficiency can be negatively impacted by placement or lack of maintenance
Solar panels need to be properly positioned and maintained. This means installing them properly so they have airflow and don’t overheat, and it also means keeping them clean of debris which will stop them from absorbing light.
Solar Power Tax Credits
While the cost to get started with solar is hefty, there are still some credits and incentives you can take advantage of to help you reduce the costs of upgrading your home. Not only are there credits from the federal government, but your state, and even your utilities provider may actually offer some as well!
It takes a bit of research to navigate these, but it’s definitely worth it, as you can save a ton of money by going solar. You can start at the official page for solar credits at energy.gov to learn more.
Bob learned about farming from his grand dad. So, the decision to leave the city and start homesteading was not a difficult transition. He now lives with his wife and two kids on their 30 acre property in Ohio.