How many solar panels do I need to run my house?

How many solar panels do I need to run my house?

Many times, homeowners ask us how many solar panels they need to run their house.  Often, people will ask how many panels they can fit on a 1200 sq. ft. house.  I often reply with a big “it depends.”  This article will explain why.  How many solar panels do I need to run my house?  Here are a few insights.

Electric usage not square footage

The number of solar panels you need has much more to do with how high your electric usage is versus how big your house is.  I’ve met people who have very large homes that have bills as low as $200/mo because they have energy efficient appliances.  Contrarily, I’ve seen people with small 800 sq. ft. homes who use $500/mo in summer or winter because they like it hot (or cold)!  The size of your house doesn’t matter really.  It’s all about how many total kWh you use.

Roof space and angle not number of panels

The orientation of your roof and the amount of shade it receives has a large effect on the number of panels you’ll need to run your home.  A panel on a south facing roof with no shade is significantly more powerful than a panel facing northwest with a tall tree nearby.  Additionally, some roofs have complicated shapes which make it difficult to fit the panels in certain places.  In some situations, we can’t fit enough panels to run your entire house.  Nevertheless, it can still be worth it to go solar.

Detailed analysis not a quick guess

Some solar companies will take a look at your roof and give you a quick guess as to how many panels they can fit, or how many you’ll need.  Then they use a simple solar simulator to approximate how much this will offset your bills.  Many homeowners report being disappointed with the result.  Vague estimates lead to vague results.  Instead, we go into extreme detail when analyzing how many panels you need.  Our software uses laser imaging to get the exact angle of your roof.  It uses weather data from your nearest airport to calculate sunlight and temperature throughout the year.  It even calculates shade from all nearby structures.


While it can be nice to know a ballpark figure of how much solar will cost, it is definitely worth your time and our effort to get a precise, detailed calculation of how many panels we can fit.  We like to be exact so you can have a high level of trust that going solar is right for you!  Enter your info now to get a free analysis of how many panels can fit on your house.