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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

The perfect fit can be hard to find - but it’s definitely worth it.

You would never spend thousands of dollars without thinking about it carefully first – and your solar energy system is no different.

When it comes to buying your new solar energy system, don’t make the mistake of thinking ‘one size fits all’. Here are three key things to consider when searching for your perfect solar fit.

1. Your daily energy usage

The number of solar panels you need should be informed by your current energy usage patterns and what you want to achieve. The best way to begin is by reviewing your electricity bills.

Collect your past year’s worth of electricity bills and look for your “average daily energy use” figure on each of them – it will typically be shown on the first or second page of the bill, and in kilowatt hours or “kWh”. Note this number down for each bill you have, and then take an average of all of those numbers. The final number you arrive at will be your typical energy use over a 24 hour period, including both day and nighttime hours.

Once you have this figure, load it into our simple Energy Solution Calculator along with a little more information about your and your goals, and in seconds you’ll be able to see how many solar panels we think you need.

Depending on where you are in Australia and which direction your solar panels face, every kilowatt of solar panels will produce between 3 and 5 kWh of clean renewable energy per day, and you typically need around 3 to 4 solar panels to make up 1 kilowatt (depending on the actual size of the panels in your system). Keep this in mind when you see the result in our calculator, to understand what your recommended system size means in number of panels.

2. Sunshine hours

Solar panels need sunlight to function – it’s an obvious rule. But what buyers often don’t realise is that their home’s exposure to sunlight, or how many sunshine hours they get, can have a direct impact on the number of solar panels they will need.

The amount of sunlight your home receives change based on your location in Australia and the time of year. The fall in sunlight hours during winter is often due to shorter, cloudier days, and cities on the east coast of Australia generally have sunnier winters than their southern counterparts.

For example, Perth has the highest number of sunshine hours per year, whereas Melbourne has the least. This means that a household in Melbourne may need a larger sized system to make up the same amount of energy as a household in Perth, simply because of the sunlight they receive.

Match your solar panel placement with the time of day that you use the most energy
Match your solar panel placement with the time of day that you use the most energy

The other thing to consider is how many of those sunlight hours can reach your solar panels, and the time of day that they will be exposed to sunlight. For example, a house with some shading on the roof might need more solar panels than a house with no shading, to make up for the panels receiving less sunlight. Or for a house that uses most of their energy during the morning, it might make more sense to put the solar panels on an east-facing roof space to capture the morning sun and generate free electricity when you need it most.

3. Your energy goals

The size of the solar energy system you choose will also depend on how much you’re aiming to save on your future electricity bills. Do you want to just cover your daytime energy needs, or do you want to add a battery to make yourself almost completely self-sufficient? Have a clear goal in mind about how much of your energy requirements you’d like to have generated by your new solar energy system, and share this goal with your solar energy system designer.

Use our Energy Solution Calculator to learn how much you could save on your electricity bills with a solar energy system matched to your goals.

Your energy goals will directly influence the size of the system, the number of solar panels, and the way it’s designed for future expansion. Even if you select a smaller system that won’t supply 100% of your electricity needs, your new investment will still help to bring your electricity costs down almost immediately, and could set you up for an easy addition of a battery in the future

If you do choose to start with a small system, ensure that your supplier has designed the system with expansion or modification in mind; you might want to expand your system size or add battery storage in the future if your circumstances change.

When it comes to your solar energy future, you should expect a completely tailor-made solution.

The best solar energy providers will always ask you about your current energy habits and your future plans, and these considerations should be carefully included in designing your system. If you do your research, stay vigilant of solar cowboys and ask the right questions of your provider, you’ll be sure to find the perfect fit.

Start the conversation and find your perfect solar energy match.

Request a free quote now

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Zen Energy PTY LTD

Sustainable Industries Education
Centre TAFE SA
Building 5, Level 2, Suite 5.2.1
1284 South Road
TONSLEY SA 5042

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