how many panels to be self-sufficient

How Many Solar Panels To Be Self-Sufficient?

There are a lot of reasons people are interested in getting solar panels on their home. The money savings. The increase in home value. The ability to power your home with green energy.

One other big reason is self-sufficiency. A lot of people like the idea of not having to rely on the utility company for their energy needs. They don’t like seeing their electric rates going up and up. And, because of more violent weather and the aging electric grid, they really don’t like having to deal with more frequent, and longer, power outages.

By installing solar panels and a battery storage system, your home can be self-sufficient. You can produce all your own power. You’ll no longer have to pay the utility company. And you can keep the lights (and appliances and electronics) on even when your local utility has an outage.

If energy self-sufficiency is your goal, a very common question you probably have is, “How many solar panels are needed to be self-sufficient?”

After reading the short article below, you’ll know how to figure that out!

How Many Solar Panels To Be Self-Sufficient?

The short, honest answer to that is we can’t give you an exact answer. In fact, no website can. You’ll find some estimates that it will take 20 – 25 panels for the average home to be self-sufficient. 

But there are too many factors about your home specifically that go into this calculation. So any averages are really not that helpful. 

And it’s not just about how many solar panels you need to power your entire home. It’s also about the battery storage requirements you’ll need to power your home at night and during the time (if you have any) when your home uses more energy than your panels produce.  

But what we can do is help you understand what factors you need to look at. This will help you figure out how many panels you’ll need to be self-sufficient.

How Much Power Does Your Home Use?

The first step in knowing how many solar panels you need is to know how much electricity you need to power your home. To figure this out, you’ll want to find out how many kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity you use every year. 

It’s pretty easy to do this. Just look at your electric bills from the past year. How much energy you use will be on each bill (at least your monthly usage, some bills will show you your annual total as well). 

If it’s just your monthly total, check your bills for the past year and add them all up to get your annual usage. If you don’t have all those bills, then just do your best to figure out your average monthly usage and multiply by 12. 

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

Next thing you’ll want to figure out is how many solar panels you need. There are a few things that go into this calculation. 

You’ll need to know what type of panels you’re getting and how efficient they are. The more efficient the panels, the fewer you’ll need. 

Also, you’ll want to know how much direct sunlight your roof gets each day. The more direct sunlight it gets, the fewer panels you’ll need. 

Once you have all the above info, you just need to do some math. We cover it all in our article on “how many solar panels do I need?”. So when you’re ready to run the numbers, you can just head over there and plug in your information. 

Calculate Battery Storage Requirements

As mentioned, to be self-sufficient, you’ll also need a battery storage system for your home. This will store energy from your panels so you can use it when your home needs to use more energy than your panels can produce. 

Again, there are a number of factors that go into figuring out how many batteries you need. They key ones are:

  • How much power your home uses, especially at night
  • How long a time period you want the batteries to be able to power your home for
  • The type of whole house battery/ies you get and their specifications/storage capacity

For this one, we suggest talking with your local solar/battery installation company and/or your electrician to figure out how many batteries you’ll need.

Being Energy Self-Sufficient

As you can see, there’s a lot of math that goes into figuring out how many solar panels you need to be self-sufficient. When planning out your panel/battery needs, your best bet is to contact a local solar installer (or, better yet, a few) and get multiple recommendations and quotes. 

Start with our free solar assessment tool here. It takes 30 seconds to complete and it’ll give you an initial idea of whether solar makes sense for your home or not.