# How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Run a House?

Choosing the right number of solar panels for your home is a process that involves considering several different factors. Solar panels are not all equal. It is important to choose solar panels based on the amount of power they can produce. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect.

**How Do Solar Panels Work?**

Solar panels absorb photons from the sun’s rays. When the sun strikes the panel, energy from the light is absorbed by the photovoltaic (PV) cells that are on the solar panels. That stored energy then creates electrical charges that move around in response to the internal electrical field within each of the cells. When this happens, electricity flows.

**How Long Do Solar Panels Last?**

There are differences between products. However, some solar panel systems can last for 20 to 25 years, sometimes longer. They are designed to be able to withstand the elements and are durable enough for many climates. Many times, solar panels come with a warranty that protects them for a set number of years. In some situations, panels last 50 to 80% longer than the warranty.

**How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Run A House?**

The answer depends on several factors, including your home’s size and energy consumption. For an average American home, measuring around 2,480 square feet, 15 to 22 full-sized solar panels are generally required to replace your traditional energy sources completely. Your monthly electricity usage, found on your utility bill, plays a significant role. The average American household uses approximately 2,700 kWh per month. With the average solar panel generating between 0.26 to 2 kWh per hour, at least 17 solar panels operating continuously can generate enough energy to replace your entire electricity bill in a week.

To accurately assess your needs, consider:

**Home Square Footage**: Measured by calculating the width and length of each room and then multiplying to get the square footage.**Monthly Electricity Usage**: Check your utility bill for your monthly kWh consumption.**Panel Efficiency:**Solar panels’ energy generation can vary based on their efficiency and placement; south-facing panels are often the most efficient.**Maintenance Costs**: Factor in mandatory government-approved inspections, typically ranging from $150 to $450, when budgeting for solar panels.

By evaluating these criteria, you can tailor your solar panel setup to meet your specific needs.

## See why Solar's been #1

**What Are Peak Sunlight Hours?**

One factor that plays a role in the number of panels you need is the amount of peak sunlight hours you need. Solar panels only generate electricity when they have direct sunlight. When the sun sets, they are not able to produce energy. Peak sunlight hours is the term used to describe the number of hours when your panels are in that direct sunlight path. Peak sunlight hours depend on where you live. Some areas, such as in the south, have many more hours of sunlight than those in the north.

To determine your needs, multiply the hourly energy usage you need by the number of peak sunlight hours the home gets. Then, divide that number by the wattage of the panel that you are planning to purchase. This helps you to determine how much power you need. During the installation process, you’ll learn more about how much power your panels can generate.

**How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?**

Costs range widely, though prices have fallen significantly in the last few years. They are more accessible than ever. Most of the time, a panel will cost between 50 and 70 cents per watt. For example, if you purchased a 350-watt solar panel, that could cost about $175. Let’s say that your home has 1500 square feet. The total cost, with installation, could be around $18,000. Costs range widely, and there are numerous incentives available that could make this much less. Let us help you with more pricing information.

## Are Solar Panels Right For Your Home?

The decision to switch to solar energy offers both environmental and financial benefits, but it’s essential to evaluate if your home is a good fit.

Ideal conditions for solar panels include:

- living in a climate with ample sunlight
- having a clear, unobstructed view of the Southern sky
- and residing in a state that provides solar tax incentives

These factors make solar panel installation a smart financial move, especially if you’re dealing with high energy bills and have the desire to become energy independent.

Are you interested in learning more about solar panels? It’s easier to have them installed and more affordable than you may realize. Contact us now to learn more about getting solar panels for your home:

**Additional frequently asked questions about home solar panels**

**How many solar panels do I need for an average size home?**

The average American home typically needs between 16 and 20 solar panels. That is based on average electrical use of 893 KWH each month. However, that figure may not match your needs because it depends on your energy needs. The size of your home, location, and many other factors play a role.

**How many solar panels are needed for an 800 sq ft home?**

A small home, such as one with 800 square feet of living space, is likely to require between 8 and 10 solar panels to power the home based on the energy consumption of a home that size and using panels that produce 315 watts.

**How many solar panels are needed for a 1000 sq ft home?**

With a 1000-square-foot home, you can expect to need about 300 to 400 kilowatts of power. That means you are likely to need around 10 to 12 solar panels that produce 375 watts each for this size of home.

**How many solar panels are needed for a 1200 sq ft home?**

On average, a home that is 1200 square feet will need somewhere between 12 and 15 solar panels to provide enough electricity for the home. Of course, this could fluctuate based on how much sunlight is in the area as well as the amount of energy consumption for the home.

**How many solar panels are needed for a 1500 sq ft home?**

A 1500-square-foot home, on average, will need between 14 and 17 solar panels to power the home. This is based on an average energy consumption of 967 Kilowatt hours per month. This number could also go up or down based on how much power the solar panels produce. The more energy the panels can produce, the lower the number of panels needed.

**How many solar panels are needed for a 2000 sq ft home?**

Depending on energy consumption, location, and weather patterns, the number of solar panels needed for a 200-square-foot home can range from 19 to 25. This number is based on 375-watt panels. This would assume that the home uses, on average, 967-kilowatt hours of power per month.

**How many solar panels are needed for a 2500 sq ft home?**

A 2500-square-foot home will usually need between 24 and 30 solar panels to provide 1,023 kilowatt hours of power. This is based on the average consumption of power for a home this size. Other factors to consider are actual energy consumption as well as the total amount of sunlight in the area.

**How many solar panels are needed for a 3000 sq ft home?**

A 3000-square-foot home, on average, will use 1,185 kilowatt hours of energy per month. If the home falls in line with this average, it will need between 27 and 30 panels to provide an adequate amount of power.

The average American home needs between 15 and 19 solar panels based on the average electricity usage of 893 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month. Installing that many solar panels would cost between $12,000 and $17,000 after the federal solar tax credit.

But, chances are your energy usage doesn’t line up exactly with the U.S. average, plus the number of solar panels you need depends on several other factors. When trying to find the right solar system size for you, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

- How much electricity do I use?
- How much sunlight does my house get?
- Is my roof big enough?

##### Calculate how many solar panels you will need to power your specific home

Calculate now### On this page

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## How many solar panels you need at a glance

**Monthly electric bill***

**System size****

**Number of solar panels needed**$100 5.1 kW 13 $150 7.6 kW 19 $200 10.2 kW 26 $250 12.8 kW 32 $300 15.3 kW 39

*Based on average U.S. electricity rate. Source: EIA

**Based on 4 daily peak sun hours. Source: NREL

**The average home in the U.S. needs to install between 15 and 19 solar panels to cover a $140 monthly electricity bill.**

The actual number of solar panels needed to run a house varies depending on where the house is located, the home’s energy usage, and the size of the solar panels.

##### How many solar panels can power your house?

Calculate now## Factors that determine how many solar panels you need

To really understand how many solar panels your solar energy system needs, you need to know the following:

**Your energy usage:**The more electricity you use, the more solar panels you need to cover your electricity costs.**Sunlight in your area**: Homes in areas that receive less sunlight will need more solar panels to eliminate their electricity bills than those in sunnier states. As a rule of thumb, the southwestern United States gets the most sun in the country, while the northeast gets the least.**Panel wattage:**The wattage of the solar panels you choose, also called the power rating, determines how much energy the panels will produce, and most solar panels installed today have a power rating of about 370 watts per panel; fewer panels are needed when you install panels with high wattage ratings.

Below, solar expert and SolarReviews Founder Andy Sendy breaks down everything you need to know about how many solar panels you need to power your home.

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## How to calculate the number of solar panels you need

Figuring out how many solar panels you need is easier than you think. Once you know how much energy you use and the amount of sunlight you get, you can get a good idea of the number of solar panels to put on your roof.

### Step 1: Determine your energy usage

Check out your most recent power bill to see your monthly electricity consumption. In most cases, the total amount of electricity used will be shown at the bottom of the bill in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

If you can, compile your electricity bills for the last 12 months to see how much energy you use yearly. Annual energy usage gives you a better estimate of how many solar panels you need, as energy fluctuates with the seasons. **The ****average U.S. household electricity usage**** is about 900 kWh of electricity per month or 10,800 kWh yearly.**

If you only have one utility bill on hand, it’s still enough for a ballpark estimate. Remember, if you’re using your yearly or monthly electric usage - it’s important later!

### Step 2: See how much sunlight your home gets

The map above shows how many peak sun hours different areas of the United States receive daily. Image source: NREL

Now that you know how much electricity your home uses in a month, you need to find the amount of sunlight your area receives. How much sunlight an area gets is measured in peak sun hours, which represents the intensity of sunlight at a given location.

**On average, the U.S. gets about 4.2 peak sun hours daily or about 128 monthly, **but how much sunlight you get can vary quite a bit. Arizona, for example, can get upwards of seven daily peak sun hours. On the other hand, Alaska gets an average of two peak sun hours.

The more sunlight your home gets, the fewer solar panels you need to cover your energy bills. The following table outlines the estimated average peak sun hours for different regions of the United States:

**Region**

**Daily peak sun hours**

**Monthly peak sun hours**North East 3.6 13 Midwest 4 19 South East 4.4 26 South 4.5 32 West 4.3 39

Source: NREL

**Tip!** Peak sun hours are often listed as daily values. You need to convert this to monthly or yearly hours, depending on if you’re looking at your monthly or yearly energy consumption. These must match to estimate how many solar panels you need accurately!

### Step 3: Find out how much energy solar panels produce near you

Use how many peak sun hours you get to determine how many kilowatt-hours of electricity a solar panel can produce in your area.

Take the size of a solar panel in watts and multiply it by the number of peak sun hours you get in a month to see how much electricity a solar panel in your area will produce monthly. You’ll have to convert this from watt-hours to kilowatt-hours by dividing it by 1,000 to match your energy consumption from your electricity bills.

Here’s an example. Most solar panels today are 400 watts in size. If you installed a 400-watt panel in an area that gets 121 peak sun hours per month, that solar panel will generate about 48 kWh of electricity:

**400 watts X 121 peak sun hours = 48,400 watt-hours generated monthly **

**48,400 watt-hours / 1,000 = 48.4 kilowatt-hours**

Solar panels with lower wattages will generate less electricity than those with high wattages. Also, panels installed in areas with more sunlight can generate more electricity.

**Step 4: Calculate how many solar panels you need**

Now you know how much energy you’ve consumed and how much energy a solar panel can produce where you live, you’re ready to figure out how many solar panels you need.

All you need to do is divide your energy usage by the amount of solar energy generated by one solar panel. This will tell you how many solar panels you need to install to generate that much electricity.

For the average home in the U.S., the calculation would look something like this:

**900 kWh consumed / 48.4 kWh electricity generated = 19 panels**

Voila! That’s the number of solar panels you need to power your home.

## How much do solar panels cost?

**Solar panel systems usually cost between**** $12,000 and $17,000 after the ****federal solar tax credit****.** But, answering “how much do solar panels cost?” is a lot like answering “how many solar panels do I need?”. The truth is - it depends.

The total cost of a solar panel system will vary based on how many solar panels you install, where you live, and the installer you choose. The following table outlines the estimated cost of installing different-sized solar panel systems based on the average cost of solar in the U.S.:

System size Number of solar panels Installed cost before incentives 4 kW 10 $11,800 6 kW 15 $17,700 8 kW 20 $23,600 10 kW 25 $29,500 12 kW 30 $35,400 14 kW 35 $41,300*Assumes 400-watt panels

##### How much will solar panels cost you?

Calculate now## How many solar panels do you need based on your house size?

The most accurate way to calculate how many solar panels you need is by basing it on your energy usage rather than your home size. You could have a huge house and use very little electricity, thus needing fewer panels. **But, in general, bigger houses tend to use more electricity. **We made a table that gives a general idea of how many solar panels are needed on average to run different home sizes:

**Estimated monthly energy usage**

**Number of solar panels needed***1,000 square feet 440 kWh 9 1,500 square feet 660 kWh 14 2,000 square feet 880 kWh 18 2,500 square feet 1,100 kWh 23 3,000 square feet 1,320 kWh 27

*Based on 400-watt panels and 4 daily peak sun hours

## How many solar panels can fit on your roof?

**The average solar installation will require between 260 and 340 square feet of roof space.** To find out how much roof space your solar system needs, just multiply the number of panels you need by 17.55 square feet, which is the area of most residential solar panels sold today. The following table outlines how much roof space different system sizes use:

**System size**

**Number of panels***

**Approx. roof space required**4 kW 10 176 sq. feet 6 kW 15 264 sq. feet 8 kW 20 351 sq. feet 10 kW 25 439 sq. feet 12 kW 30 527 sq. feet 14 kW 35 615 sq. feet

*Based on 400-watt panels

If you have limited roof space, you may need high-efficiency panels or panels with a higher power output to install fewer panels while still covering your energy needs.

**Your roof matters!** Not all roofs are good for solar. Depending on your roof direction, shading, and tilt, you may need to install more solar panels. Ideally, solar panels should be installed on south-facing roofs that get lots of sun. These factors are harder to quantity on your own, but we take them into account in our solar panel calculator.

## Do solar panels make sense for my home?

Solar panels are a great investment for many homeowners and can often significantly reduce or even eliminate monthly electricity costs.

The best way to determine how many solar panels you need to lower your utility bill is by getting quotes from qualified local solar companies. Solar installers can look at your home's characteristics and determine exactly how many panels you need and how much they can save you.

In the meantime, using the steps in this article can give you a rough estimate of how many photovoltaic solar panels you need to power your home with clean, renewable energy. You can also use our solar calculator to find reliable installers near you and get on your way to savings.

##### Find local solar companies near you

Get quotes### Key takeaways

- The average U.S. home will need between 15 and 19 solar panels to cover its electricity bills.
- Three main factors impact how many solar panels you need: your energy usage, the sunlight in your area, and the solar panels you choose.
- An average solar system will cost between $12,000 and $17,000 and require between 260 and 340 square feet of roof space.
- Larger homes typically use more energy and therefore need more solar panels.

## How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Run a House?

## Calculate how many solar panels you need for your home

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