How much solar power do I need?
Elisha Keep | 25/03/2022
We're getting down to the nitty gritty of how much solar power do you actually need? Is it going to be worth your investment? Can you even install solar panels on your property? Find out here.
At a Glance
It’s time to embrace solar power. Now what?
We're here to answer all your burning questions on installing solar panels on your home.
You’ve decided it’s time to make a dent on your carbon footprint. It’s time to embrace solar power. Now what?
At Egg, we’ve made it our business to know about all things solar and we’re here to answer your questions.
We’re going to get down to the nitty gritty of how much solar power do you actually need? Is it going to be worth your investment? Can you even install solar panels on your property?
Let’s find out.
Can I install solar panels on my property?
Even with the best intentions, not every property will be suitable to have solar power put in place. However, in some cases, you can make some fixes to prepare your home for solar. When you come to Egg about your solar installation, our team will go through a short series of questions and use satellite images to make sure your roof can withstand potential panels.
Things to think about before you install your solar panels:
Do you have enough roof space?
Solar panels are bigger than you might think. For example, an eight panel system takes up the same space as two whole parking spaces. If you couldn’t fit your family cars on the roof, you might need to rethink your plans. You need plenty of room! Consider whether you have any dormer windows or skylights that might be an obstruction. You’ll need full clearance for your panels.
Is your roof in a good condition?
You won’t be surprised to hear it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get panels installed on a roof that’s unstable and needs significant repairs. Not only will it be dangerous to you as the homeowner, it could be dangerous to the contractor installing your panels.
Is your roof made out of unconventional materials?
This may well be pointing out the obvious, but putting a sizeable electrical system on top of a thatched roof (for example) might not be the most sensible idea. Glass roofs will likely not be strong enough to support the structure. You’ll also want to be sure your roof contains no asbestos. If it does, you’ll need to get a specialist in to deal with the issue before you get the green light on your solar installation.
How do I figure out how much solar power I’ll need?
Your average electricity usage
How much power you need will affect the number of panels you’ll require, so it’s important to try and only get what you need. You don’t want to impact your chances of breaking even on your investment. Every home is different. How we each use electricity will vary. With that in mind, you’ll need to sit down and try and figure out your average annual electricity costs. If you don’t have your statements in your records, you can contact your supplier and they should be able to assist you. Usually, they’ll give you your figures in kiloWatt hours (kWh). You might find it helpful to compare your energy use to properties of a similar size to you.
How many hours of sun you get in your area
How could we talk about solar power without talking about the sun? In the UK, we’re not always blessed with wall to wall sunshine, but we can still make the most of our daylight hours. It’s good to have a rough idea of how much sunlight your panels are going to get throughout the year. Check the average sunshine for your area using data from the Met Office.
The mathematical bit
We should preface this section by saying this is based on an ideal situation, in which your property gets the maximum amount of sunshine at precisely the right angle. You’ll go through specifics with an expert and they’ll be able to give you a more accurate quote. But it’s always nice to go into these conversations with an idea of what you’re dealing with.
Let’s say in our home county of Yorkshire, you get around 1,415 hours of sunlight every year. For the sake of this example, you’re going to install a 350 watt solar panel. Start off by multiplying your sunlight hours (1,415) by 350 watts to find your total watt hours (495,250 watt hours). This would translate to 495kWh. If the average house in the UK uses 3,731kWh per year, you’ll divide this by your kWh (495) to reach a total of around seven to eight panels.
Here’s a summary for the people that like sums.
(Sunlight hours x solar panel watts) ÷ average annual electricity usage = roughly the number of solar panels you’ll need.
Are solar panels worth my investment?
We’ve all seen the news. Energy prices are increasing. If you want to take powering your home into your own hands, solar panels are a fantastic way to do so. If you’d like to reduce your reliance on the grid and have a better handle on your energy output, solar may well be the way for you to go.
We can’t speak for every provider out there, but we’re confident that the solar panels we install will pay for themselves in as little as six to seven years depending on your energy usage.
But we do know you’ll be generating your own clean energy for well over two decades. Now doesn’t that feel good?
According to a survey from Which, the jury’s out on whether solar panels add value to a home. But we believe that as more prospective buyers become increasingly passionate about renewable energy, this will start to play its part in the housing market.
We hope this has given you a glimpse into the process of switching to solar. You can speak to one of our expert team at any time if you have more questions. We’ll be happy to help.
If you’d like to start your renewable energy journey, you can contact us for a quote today.
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