Climate Energy News

What number of solar panels do I require? Is it true that solar saves me money?

The way we produce electricity is changing all around the country: coal plants are being phased out as alternatives like wind and solar come online. This is happening right now in Indiana. There is a massive solar farm heading to northwest Indiana, which will be the country’s largest. It will cover 13,000 acres and include over 2.5 million solar panels, enough to power over a quarter million houses.

It should come as no surprise that this story piqued your curiosity and prompted a slew of inquiries from you. It’s understandable, given how difficult solar may be. It’s made even more confusing by the reality that not all the solar panels are created equal. Rooftop solar (panels on houses’ tops) differs significantly from utility-scale solar, such as the Mammoth solar plant.

While the technology is the same, how it is implemented “matters a great deal” in terms of how the energy is utilized and who owns and profits from it, according to Zach Schalk of Solar United Neighbors, a group that assists Hoosiers with rooftop solar access.

Rooftop solar is typically used on-site, or even behind the meter, and any electricity not used on-site is shared directly with the neighbors on the distribution system, according to Schalk. This is in contrast to utility-scale projects, which are centrally managed and connect to a transmission grid directly. “If we’re going to decarbonize the energy system as soon as we need to,” Schalk said, “we’re going to need both residential solar and utility-scale solar.”

To power, a home, what is the exact number of solar panels are required?

This is very dependent on a variety of circumstances, including how much power the house consumes, whether it receives adequate sunlight, the kind of solar panel utilized, and so on. Solar panels for domestic usage typically yield 300 to about 400 watts each. According to Schalk, it’s more important to consider the system’s overall size than the number of panels.

In Indiana, here’s how to get going with the solar panels on your home.

The average household solar installation is between 7,000 to 8,000 watts, according to Schalk, which is enough to satisfy all of a home’s electricity needs. To power a typical home, roughly 20 solar panels would be required. However, system sizes might be significantly greater in larger homes having higher usage.

Do solar panels actually save you money?

When it relates to rooftop solar, Schalk has a simple answer: “Absolutely!” You will realize instant savings on your electric bill once your solar panels are turned on and producing electricity.” The amount of money saved over time varies on each particular case — how much energy you consume and how much energy your panels produce — but “there’s no doubt” that people’s bills will decrease, he said. Even if their solar panels cover all of their electric demand, homeowners will always incur a monthly fixed fee on their bill as long as they remain linked to the grid.

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