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# How Many Solar Panels Do I Need

Solar power comes from the sun which is a cheap and unlimited source of alternative energy. Most solar panels have a limited time available to produce power, which is further limited by the very low efficiency that present day solar cells have. Such efficiency varies from 15 to 20 percent.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for Powering My Home

In a typical home, electricity is used to light up the home, operate its various electrical equipment and in some cases for heating. Installation of solar panels can be quite expensive and so heating of a home is better done with oil, coal or gas based furnaces. So, other than heating, a typical home may require about 600 watts of power on an average. This translates into 14,400 watt hours for a day.

Solar panels can produce about 70 milliwatts per square inch, and assuming only a 5 hour exposure to the sun that is beneficial to produce power, this translates into 350 milliwatt hours per day. So to produce the required amount of power you will, in theory, need 41,000 square inches of solar panels or about 285 square feet. While this area is not too large for a typical home, the direction of the sun and the ability of the installation to take advantage of the sun can decide the placement of these solar panels.

Solar power panels are available as panels that have a wattage rating. The normal ones vary from 100 watts to 200 watts per hour.

Costs of Power Generation from the Sun

As the sun shines only for a part of the day, (we have assumed five hours) you then need to provide a bank of batteries to store the power for use when the sun is not shining and the necessary inverters to convert the electricity to one that is usable by all the appliances and other equipment that you have. This in itself can almost double the cost of an installation. An installation of 285 square feet in today's terms will cost about ,000 plus the added cost for the other equipment.

It is possible to reduce the requirements of electricity by completely cutting out any air conditioning or heating equipment, using energy efficient refrigerators with limited capacities, using only CFL bulbs and considering other alternatives. 600 watts of electricity purchased from the grid can cost you just about 0 per year, and this makes solar power very uneconomical. However if you are considering powering up a house that is far from any electrical grid, than solar power is the way to go, because bringing the grid to your home may remain very prohibitive in terms of cost.

Some electrical utilities do agree to take power from a solar power installation , and this can save you the costs of batteries etc, as you can agree to trade that power for cheap power from the grid at night when the solar power will not be available.

Why Must You Consider Solar Power

For electricity to be produced a lot of the earth's natural resources need to be used. This includes coal, oil and gas all of which are non renewable and resources that can deplete and get over. The sun is a source that is renewable and inexhaustible. Research into materials that convert solar energy to power is continuing to reduce the costs of making such cells and increasing the efficiency with which they work. In the long run this can reduce costs to a great extent. Maintenance in the case of systems that produce energy from solar power is almost negligible and requires not much more than keeping surfaces of the panels clean.

If a home is located in an area where the sun shines for a larger part of the year, it makes sense to utilize the energy from the sun to reduce your utility bills. Even if installation of solar panels is something beyond your budget at the moment, you can consider other alternatives that are much cheaper and use the heat from the sun to heat water instead of using electricity for this.

A number of state and federal grants and loans are also available for installation of solar panels, and it is best to get sufficient information on this before you decide on any solar panel installation.

Solar power is abundant and inexhaustible, compared to other natural resources. So, do your bit for the environment by looking at how many solar panels do I need for the home and see if you can find a way to install them .

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