Richard asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 10 months ago

how many solar panels does it take to run a house? and what are the panels's sizes? do they come in a big square/rectangle with?

little squared sections in it like my attachment shows half way?


like on the show "building off the grid". a panel is that big. and it has those square sections on it

Attachment image

3 Answers

  • 10 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Hey Richard. Your question is pretty nebulous, like asking, “How much gas does a car need?” I’ll take a stab at it though. First, those little squares in a panel are individual solar cells. Each generates one half volt in direct sun. If you wanted a panel to charge a 12 volt battery in an RV for example, it should have an open circuit voltage (Voc) around 18 volts to compensate for charge control losses and battery charge losses. Such a panel would have 36 cells all wired in series inside the panel to generate the needed voltage. Some panels work on higher voltages, you can count the cells and divide by 2 and it should roughly equal the Voc rating on the back of the panel.

    Our cottage has a 1.4 kw, or 1400 watt solar array. We use 12 Kyocera 120 watt panels to achieve this. It is a very efficient little cottage, only using about 240 kWh per month, or about $30-40 per month in electricity. Solar panels today generate roughly 10 watts per square foot, our array fits easily on the carport roof. A normal home might use 10-20 kWh per day, a heinous amount if you ask me, but would require maybe a 5kw array to offset that much usage. A system this size might cost $12,000 to $15,000 to install. It might pay for itself in 10 or 15 years. You could also put $15,000 in a long term bond fund and simply pay the electric bill out of the interest, end result is about the same. We installed our array and wind turbine (a small 1kw model) 18 years ago for environmental reasons and reliability. Our cottage has not been without power for even a minute in 18 years, and I do not own a generator. Hard to put a price on that.

    Check out the sources below, and be careful asking for renewable energy facts on open forums. I’ve found solar power has two things in vast supply in my day, sun, and miss information. Take care Richard, Rudydoo.

  • 10 months ago

    How big a house? Does it have insulation? Does it have copper or aluminum wiring? What kind of heating system?

    I could run my house with 2 large panels while my neighbor would need dozens.

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