Frequently asked questions
Converting to solar power is an environmentally-friendly option that has been getting more attention in recent years. But how many solar panels would a residential home need, and how many solar panels does it take to make one kilowatt?
Everyone’s lifestyle is different and so is the amount of energy they consume. Consumption depends on the type of appliances you own and how often they’re used. So when it comes to ‘getting off the grid’, you need to determine a realistic energy consumption that does not impact your needs or lifestyle.
How much power do you need?
Electrical power is measured in Watts and energy consumption is measured in kiloWatt hours (kWh). A kiloWatt hour is simply:
The amount of electricity used (1000 Watts = 1 kiloWatts), in kiloWatts,
multiplied by the number of hours the energy is used.
Usually the calculation states the time period such as one day, one month or one year.
For example: if a 100 W light bulb is on for 10 hours a day then:
100/1000 (kilowatt) x 10 (hours) = 1 kWh per day.
In one month, that same 100 W light bulb, turned on for 10 hours a day will consume:
100/1000 (kiloWatt) x 10 (hours) x 30 days = 30 kWh hours per month.
Your electrical bill will usually show how many kWh all of your electrical devices used over the last billing period (usually around 30 days).
Determine Your Energy Requirements
Before converting to solar power, look at your electricity bills from the last year, and determine your energy usage. Some of us will use more energy in the summer when the air-conditioner is running. Others, who live in colder climates, will use more electricity in the winter, when the nights are cold and long. Make a good estimate at how much power you’ll need per day. If this is for a new installation, such as a cottage, then here are some average numbers to get you started:
16 W bulb (on 10 hours) – 4.8 kWh/month (57.6 kWh/year)
100 W bulb (on 10 hours) – 30 kWh/month (360 kWh/year)
Refrigerator – 36.7 kWh/month (440 kWh/year)
Dishwasher – 41 kWh/month (492 kWh/year)
Clothes Washer – 24.9 kWh/month (299 kWh/year)
Electric Clothes Dryer – 74.7 kWh/month (896 kWh/year)
Stove & Oven (self-cleaning) – 61.25 kWh/month (735 kWh/year)