A Guide to Calculating How Many Solar Panels You Need

Wondering how to calculate how many solar panels you need? Here's what to take into consideration. The number of solar panels is dependent on your energy consumption, sun hours, and roof size.

In the UK, the majority of solar panels installed in residential homes are 3kW and 6kW systems.

The bigger the size of the panel, and the more panels installed, the more energy generated. However, your home may not have enough space for a bigger system, and it also may not need it! 

If you're saving money and the environment at the same time by adding solar panels to your home, you want to get the right size of panels for you.

What is the average number of solar panels in a UK home?

One of the determining factors in figuring out how many solar panels you need is the number of people living in your home. For example, a larger family will of course have greater energy needs than a smaller family. 

Would like your solar panels to cover your entire electric bill, or just reduce it? This will also determine the number of solar panels you might need.

You can talk to a specialist about your preferences, and they will take this into account when proposing a system for you. Generally, the amount of solar panels on the average home is around 8-12.

The average system is usually a 3 or 4kW system.

Which types of solar panels are available?

There are a number of types of solar panels, with ever-increasing improvements in technology. The best types of solar panels in 2022 include Q-Cells, JA Solar, and Hyundai.

The best solar panels for you depend on their efficiency, cost, and the amount of space you have on your roof.

Some brands of solar panels are more efficient than others. On the other hand, some brands have different benefits; such as being more temperature tolerant. Your solar specialist can help talk you through the different options available to you.

How does a solar panel specialist work out what size system I need?

A qualified specialist will ask you the necessary questions about your home to ensure you get the best solar system for your needs. The specialist will talk to you about your energy usage and average bill. They'll also ask about the size of your roof, and the location panels might go. A south-facing roof is best but solar panels aren’t limited to a south-facing roof.

The average energy consumption is the most important factor in determining the number of solar panels that you need to cover your bill.

There are varying amounts of sunlight across England, Scotland, and Wales, which will affect the number of solar panels you will need. Many people think that temperature affects the amount of energy generated by solar array.  It's also a common misconception that performance will drop in winter in the UK. In fact, solar energy works solely on sunlight, meaning that panels will work all year round.

How many solar panels do I need for my roof?

Another reason why it is best to talk to a specialist is so that they can assess your roof. Whether or not your roof can support solar panels and how the panels will be angled needs to be considered before a type of panel can be recommended.

They'll also take into consideration the size of your roof and any shading issues that might be caused by nearby trees or buildings.

Did you know that composite, tile, metal, tar, and wood are the best type of rooves for solar? 

How Do I Calculate the Right Solar Panel Array Size?

Again, to make the most accurate and informed decision, we recommend talking to a solar energy advisor. 

Monthly energy bills are the best indicators to work out what size of solar array you need. Your specialist will work out the average amount of power your home or business consumes in a day. This is done by looking at your yearly or monthly utility bill.

They will then talk to you about the size of your roof, and whether or not a battery would benefit you. Different solar panel types have different dimensions. Therefore, solar is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Let your specialist know the surface area of your roof. They can then take everything into consideration to advise you. They'll let you know the amount and type of panels that will save you the most money on your energy bill.

solar panel system installation guide smart energy

How much does it cost to install a solar panel system?

The cost to install solar panels will vary depending on the amount and type - for example, you might need extra brackets to angle your solar panels to get the most amount of sunlight to them. It's best to talk through a few different options and look at the return on investment of solar.

Are there any grants or funding from the government in the UK for solar panels?

There are no grants available in the UK for solar panels. However, the new Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) started in January 2020. The SEG guarantee is a scheme that encourages people to go solar by offering generous amounts for the energy your export from your solar PV system.

We hope there will be more incentives in the future to encourage people to switch to more energy-efficient and renewable energy sources.

Do you need planning permission to install solar panels?

You do not need planning permission to install solar panels unless you live in a listed building, or live in an area of ‘natural beauty,’ 

Do I need a battery as well as solar panels?

A lithium-ion battery can store your surplus solar energy. 

Whether or not you would benefit from a battery will also depend on your energy usage. Generally, if you use a lot of appliances at night, such as a washing machine, TV, or dishwasher, a battery is worth looking into. 

A battery means that any energy you don’t use during the day is stored instead of being sold back to the grid. This means that you get to keep more free energy for yourself. 

Those with an EV (electric car/vehicle) are the most likely to benefit from adding a battery to their solar system, reducing their environmental impact as well as generating their own power for the car. Home solar battery storage is increasingly popular in 2022.

Smart Energy install solar panels, batteries, and EV chargers.

How much does it cost to install a solar battery?

Including installation, you can expect to spend at least £3,000 on home batteries. There are various types of battery available, with a number of different specifications.

For the best home battery storage UK for your personal needs, talk to one of our customer service team members about your energy usage. 

Can solar panels and batteries help with power cuts?

A battery storage system will allow you to have energy stored for use even when there is a power cut. If your home energy supply cuts out frequently, a storage battery could solve your problem.