A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Size a Solar System

how to size a solar system

Did you know installing a solar system can cut down your electricity bill? Those who installed solar panels saw their bills decrease by almost 90%.

Going solar has a lot of benefits, but you need to get the right system in the first place. You’ll need to determine how much energy you need and how many panels you can accommodate.

You may ask yourself: What solar system size do I need? You need to know what you’re doing. Be sure you find out how to size a solar system.

Read on to find out what you should cover.

Start by Determining Your Energy Needs

Sizing a solar energy system can be a daunting task. Check this out to get started on sizing the right system for your household. To start, determine your energy needs, as this will help you decide which size and type of system are best for your needs.

Calculate the total amount of electricity you will need to power your appliances or other electrical loads. You can do this by calculating the wattage of each appliance multiplied by the number of hours you will use it each day.

You also need to understand your future needs and determine whether you can meet them with a solar system. To gain this understanding, consider the number of people in the household and whether the energy usage habits will change.

If you’re considering adding more power-hungry appliances or systems, for example, for heating, take these into account.

Calculate How Much Energy Your Solar System Must Generate

Once you know the total wattage, divide it by the voltage of your grid, typically 120 or 240 volts in the U.S. This will give you the total amperage that your solar system needs to generate to meet all your needs. After getting the watt output of the solar panels, you plan to use, consider the amount of sunlight available in your area.

Knowing the wattage and hours of sunlight, you can easily determine the amount of energy generated by a solar panel in your location.

You will need to multiply the energy consumed by your home by the amount of sun available to calculate the number of solar panels necessary to produce that energy.

Consider the Size of Your Solar Panel

When sizing a solar system, it is important to consider the size of your solar panel. The panel size should be proportional to the energy needs of your property. For instance, if your home is larger and uses more electricity, you may require a larger solar panel to meet your energy needs.

The same is true for commercial buildings, as a gigantic business will require a significantly larger solar panel to meet its energy requirements. When selecting the solar system size calculation, consider the roof area. You don’t want to cram too many solar panels onto roof space, as this can create an eyesore and reduce the performance of the system.

Consider the natural resources in your area, like sunlight. Some locations are sunnier than others and will thus require larger systems to generate enough energy. For larger systems, be sure to employ the expertise of a qualified installer to ensure the system is installed correctly.

Calculating the Battery Storage Required

Once you have determined the size of the solar panel you need, you can calculate the battery storage required to store the electricity generated by the solar panel. Without proper storage, the electricity generated will not be used when needed.

An important factor to consider is the average daily output of the solar system and the desired autonomy to achieve. After determining these needs, you can calculate what battery voltage and Ah capacity are required.

Measure the battery capacity in volts and amp-hours (Ah). Both variables must be together, as the voltage of the battery must be compatible with the voltage of the solar panel system.

It is vital to account for any unexpected needs, such as cloudy days or increased electricity consumption, and account for any energy losses because of the inverter, cables, and connectors. By considering all applicable factors, you can ensure optimal battery storage to meet the needs of your solar system.

Determine the Type of Inverter Needed

It is crucial to determine the type of inverter needed. Inverters take the DC produced by the solar array and convert it to AC. The type of inverter needed depends on the wattage of the solar array, the type of batteries used, and the type of equipment being powered.

String Inverter

If a system needs to power larger equipment and appliances, you will need a string inverter, as these can handle higher wattage. They also provide additional features, such as advanced monitoring and remote management, as well as enhanced safety protection.

The string inverter is often the most economical option for solar system projects as it is typically a cost-effective single-unit solution. String inverters also come in several sizes and are compatible with most standard solar loads.


Micro-inverters are a brilliant choice for most residential solar systems. They are small standalone power converters that attach to each solar panel. This allows the solar panels to produce electricity independently rather than having to wait until an array of panels is activated.

Other advantages of micro-inverters are that they are safer and more efficient than traditional string inverters, and they reduce losses associated with cabling and shading. They do not require a high-voltage conduit and are more tolerant of shadows cast by surrounding objects.

Grid-Tie Inverter

Grid-tie inverters work in harmony with utility power. When a grid-tie inverter is present, the solar system’s output is connected directly to the utility power, allowing the solar system to back-feed the utility lines.

This allows the energy generated in the solar system to be used most efficiently. It provides power to the home with no backup source of power.

Know These Steps on How to Size a Solar System

Solar energy has great potential for energy savings. With this guide on how to size a solar system, you can now understand the process of solar energy. So you may ask: How many solar panels do I need? Start by determining your energy needs, then calculate how much energy your solar system must generate.

Consider the size of your solar panel, calculate the battery storage required, and determine the type of inverter needed. If you still have doubts, contact your local solar panel professionals for more help.

For more informative guides, check out the rest of our blog.

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