Finding the right solar system size for your home

March 27, 2023

Many homeowners and businesses are considering going solar in 2023. Around 3.6% of American homes and 1.6% of commercial buildings had solar panels in 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Homeowners or business-owners might want to go solar for multiple reasons, such as carbon footprint reduction or utility savings. With advances in solar technology, you can power all or some of your home or business through solar panels and storage batteries.

But solar is also an investment and you shouldn’t have to pay more for a system that is too big for your energy needs. It’s important to find the right solar system size for your home or business.

Why does solar system size matter for your home or business?

Solar energy systems are not one-size fits all. Each individual, family or business has its own energy needs — and those energy needs can change. You might buy an electric vehicle, an electric water heater or start a family.

Finding the right solar energy system size for your home is important for several reasons — such as cost efficiency, optimal energy production, environmental benefits and system longevity.

Cost efficiency: Installing a solar energy system that is too big for your home can be expensive, while a system that is too small may not generate enough energy to meet your needs. A properly sized system will help ensure that you are not overspending on your investment and that you are generating enough energy to offset your electricity bills.

Optimal energy production: A solar energy system that is sized appropriately for your home can maximize energy production, ensuring that you are getting the most out of your investment. A properly sized system will be able to generate enough energy to meet your household’s needs while taking into account factors such as your location, climate and shading.

Environmental benefits: Generating the right amount of energy through solar power can help reduce your carbon footprint and lessen your reliance on fossil fuels. By producing your own energy, you can contribute to a cleaner environment and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

System longevity: A solar energy system that is sized appropriately for your home can last longer and require fewer repairs over time. If the system is too small, it will be overworked and may fail prematurely, while a system that is too large may experience unnecessary wear and tear.

In summary, finding the right solar energy system size for your home is crucial for maximizing energy production, minimizing costs and reducing your environmental impact.

How to determine the right solar system size for your home?

Solar professionals determine the ideal solar system size for your home using a simple calculation based on information from your energy usage. Professionals will look at your past utility bills or other utility data to see how much energy your home uses in a specified amount of time. Typically, this is calculated using monthly or annual utility information.

Our solar advisors use Enact’s custom design software to create the perfect solar system for your home. After inputting your information into our system, we can design a system size that produces the same number of kilowatt hours (kWh) annually that your home is consuming.

Our advisors will ask you about potential home improvements or changes that will impact your energy consumption. Items that might change your energy consumption could include the purchase of an electric vehicle or switching from gas appliances to electric. If you have plans that may impact your energy consumption, our advisors will increase the system size to offset your future needs.


Factors that impact your solar size

To determine the right size of a solar system for someone’s house, the following factors need to be considered:

Energy consumption: The first step is to determine the household’s energy consumption by analyzing their utility bills for the past 12 months. And the planned changes in consumption in the future, including the usage pattern (e.g. work-from-home users self-consume more day-time solar energy produced than office-goers).

Sunlight availability: The amount of sunlight the house receives is a critical factor in determining the size of the solar system. The location of the house, the orientation of the roof, shading and weather patterns are all factors that affect the amount of sunlight available for the solar panels.

System efficiency: The efficiency of the solar panels and other components of the solar system also affects its size. Higher efficiency solar panels require less space to generate the same amount of energy as lower efficiency panels.

Budget: The size of the solar system also depends on the household’s budget. Larger systems may generate more energy, but they also come with a higher upfront cost. Some solar panel or inverter brands are higher priced than others. Of course long-term financing options make it easier for families to afford solar panels at a low upfront cash-out.

Energy Storage option: For those customers that combine an energy storage solution with solar, end-up with additional back-up power (note: solar-only systems have no resiliency during an outage, the home has no power). Such systems have higher upfront costs and lower ROI and also need a larger solar array so excess solar and charge the battery during the day time.

Once these factors are considered, an solar installer can use specialized solar software to calculate the optimal size of the solar (and storage) system for the household’s specific needs. The installer will consider the household’s energy consumption, the amount of sunlight available and the efficiency of the solar panels to design a system that meets the household’s energy needs and budget.

Enact’s commitment to transparency

Enact empowers homeowners as they transition to clean energy. Our energy advisors will never oversize your solar energy system. Based on your previous utility bills and planned usage, our energy advisors will determine the appropriate solar system size for your home.

Designing a solar system for your home will involve selecting the right solar panel / inverter brands that meet your home’s energy needs. Next we will ask if you plan on making home improvements or lifestyle changes that will increase your energy needs in the future, such as the purchase of an electric vehicle or the installation of an electric water heater. Then our energy advisors leverage satellite imagery to design a system that will fit on your roof and meet your needs.

Enact is not a solar installation company, but provides independent and custom solar system designs for your home first. We then coordinate with local installation professionals to make the transition as easy as possible. From solar installation companies for your home, to possible roofing or electrical renovations and your local government and utility company. The Enact Advantage is we can simplify your solar journey from design to installation to system monitoring and a lifetime of support and data-driven services to improve your solar experience.

How to go solar through Enact?

Going solar doesn’t have to be scary — Enact has helped thousands of homeowners and business-owners go solar from California to Connecticut. After scheduling a free conversation with one of our energy experts, Enact can design a custom solar system that can power your home.

When we find the right design for your home, Enact coordinates the entire installation and inspection process. From design to interconnection with your local utility company, Enact is involved at every step — and even beyond. The Enact Home platform helps you monitor your solar investment. Enact Home shows users essential solar metrics, such as energy generation, monthly savings and shows your payback period.

If you want to go solar or have any questions, you can sign up for a free conversation with one of our energy experts.