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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

Man installing solar panel on roof of home

The average American home needs between 15 and 19 solar panels. Installing that many solar panels would cost between $12,000 and $17,000 after the federal solar tax credit.

Your energy usage may not line up exactly with the U.S. average, so here's a way to calculate your home's requirements. The number of solar panels you need depends on several other factors as well, like the location of your home and what kind of solar panels you choose. Let's dive in.

How to calculate the number of solar panels you need

If you want to put pen to paper and work out the calculations for yourself, follow these steps to find how many solar panels you need. If you want to use an online calculator you can find several options through Google. The information below, however, will help you determine if the calculator is accurate based on your home's specifications.

Step 1: Determine your energy usage

Locate your most recent power bill to see your monthly electricity consumption. The total amount of electricity used will usually be shown at the bottom of the bill in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Your yearly energy usage will give you the best estimate as energy usage fluctuates in different seasons. To find this figure, use your monthly electric bills for the past year, add the electric usage together, and divide by 12.

Step 2: Find how much energy solar panels produce in your area

Next, you need to find the amount of sunlight your area receives. This is usually measured in somethi