Updated: Aug 28
Paying utility bills for 5000kWh power per month is a big burden on your pocket, in fact, consuming 5,000 kWh per month also means you are consuming 5 times more than the national average. However, choosing solar panels over the grid not only reduces the burden on your pocket but also reduces your carbon footprint. FYI, the carbon footprint of solar is 20 times lower than coal.
Thus, going solar for such an amount of power consumption per month is more than a good financial decision it is also, good for the national power grid as well as for the environment. Furthermore, considering $0.18 per unit, going solar power plant will save you $10,800 over a year on your utility bills. Moreover, you will get the benefits of 26% federal tax with solar.
There are two major factors that influence the number of solar panels needed to generate 5000 kWh per month; these are (#1) peak sun hours in your state and (#2) Solar panel size
However, there are factors that also increase the number of solar panels and size of the solar system. These are:
Direction of your rooftop.
Shading on the rooftop,
Angel of rooftop slope
#1 Peak sun hours: The power generation of a solar panel is directly dependent on the peak sun hours of the state; here peak sun hours differ from daylight hours. Peak sun hours are defined as the time of day when the intensity of sunshine is greatest. In other words, most electricity is generated by solar panels during peak sun hours.
The below map shows the average peak sun hours in different regions of the USA.
And compare the above map with the below map (which shows the average power generation in the USA by 1 kW of solar system per day) you can see how peak sun hours affect the power generation of solar panels.
#2 Size of solar panels: The number of solar panels required to generate the required amount of power is directly proportional to the rated power of the solar panels you will have, here higher-power solar panels generate more power and occupy less space. In fact, a 400-watt solar panel is 28% bigger than a 250-watt solar panel but it generates 60% more power.
400-watt solar panel is 28% bigger than a 250-watt solar panel but it generates 60% more power.
Furthermore, in terms of weight per square foot, 400-watt solar panels are only 24% heavier than 250-watt panels. Hence, going with a 400-watt panel instead of 250-watt will save 60% of space on your rooftop but with a 24% high per-square-foot load only. Remember in most cases going with 60% lesser space is always a good investment than a 24% lesser load. However, to be 100% sure you will need a solar survey to check how much load your rooftop can take.
Now, here is some interesting information on the solar panel size:
In every quarter the rated power of a single solar panel module increases with a slight increase in its dimensions. However, the per-watt cost of the highest-rated single solar module is also the highest. Hence, to find the most optimized price for your solar system you may need to go with little less wattage of solar panel.
Calculating the number of solar panels needed to generate 5,000kWh per month.
In the USA, a state with 4.5-5 peak sun hours, 1 kW of solar system can 4.5kWh of power per day, hence to generate 5,000 kWh per month you will need (5000/30/4.5=) 37 kW of solar system having (3,7000/400 = ) 92 numbers of 400 Watt solar panels.
Now, 92 numbers of 400-watt solar panels will cover (92x22.7=) 2088 square feet of rooftop space. Moreover, you cannot cover the whole rooftop with solar panels you need space on a rooftop for the cleaning of solar panels, as per the thump rule you can cover 40 % to 50% of your rooftop with solar panels.
Hence for installing 92 numbers of 400-watt solar panels, you will require (2088/0.5)= 4,176 square foot house to generate 5,000kWh per month. However, if you did not have that much space then going with a small-size of solar system will also help to cut down your electricity bills.
Similarly, in the USA a state with 3.5-4 peak sun hours, 1 kW of solar system can 2.8 kWh of power per day, hence we need a bigger size of the solar system to generate 5,000 kWh per month in these states, which is (5000/30/2.8=) 60 kW of solar system having (60,000/400 =) 148 numbers of 400 Watt solar panels. And to install these numbers of solar panels on the rooftop, you will require 6,719 square feet of house.
The below table shows how many solar panels are required for different requirements of power and the minimum rooftop space required to install them.
For a state with 3.5-4 hours of peak sun-hours:
For a state with 4.5-5 hours of peak sun-hours:
How many solar panels are needed for 5000 kWh per month in the USA?
In the US states with peak sun hours between 4.5 and 5, 92 numbers of 400-watt solar panels are needed to produce 5,000 kWh each month. In contrast, you would need 148 numbers of 400-watt solar panels in areas where the peak sun hours are between 3.5 and 4.
Therefore, in comparison to places like Texas and California, where the average peak sun hours are the greatest in the country, if you live in states like Michigan and Wisconsin where the daily peak sun hours is 3.5–4 hours, you would need 60–63% more solar panels to generate 5,000kWh per month.
However, there are serval other factors that affect the potential of generating power from solar panels and these factors may slightly increases the number of solar panels, the brief description of these factors is mentioned below.
Factors that affect the power generation of solar panels.
The Direction of Your Roof Slope: In the United States a south-facing solar panel, generates the highest amount of power. This is because the United States is located in the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, and the SUN is always in the southern portion of the sky in the Northern Hemisphere.
Hence installing solar panels on the south-facing slope of your rooftop will generate the highest amount of power.
Installing solar panels on the south-facing slope of your rooftop will generate the highest amount of power.
Furthermore, if you do not have south facing rooftop that does not means that you cannot install solar panels, but that means you will need a slightly higher size of the solar system. However, you need to take a solar survey to find the correct number of solar panels you need to produce 5,000 kWh per month.
Shading: Solar panels (or solar cells) that got less sunlight than the others operated as loads, reducing current, output, and efficiency. Determining a shadow-free area on the rooftop is, therefore, necessary before installations.
However, if your rooftop (or part of the rooftop) has some shadow for a short period, then you do not need to worry, you can install solar panels there too.
Roof Angle: The power generating capacity of solar power plants is also impacted by the rooftop inclination angle. Solar systems installed on rooftops with an inclination of 20 to 30 degrees produce less electricity than those with a larger incline angle.
Again, a higher inclination does not exclude the use of solar power, but it does necessitate a larger solar system, the size of which can only be determined by conducting a solar survey.
Dirt: The capacity of solar panels to produce energy is reduced when dusty particles build up on them, which obstruct sunlight. Although you must clean it more regularly, living in a duty neighborhood does not exclude you from using solar power.
Taking into account all of these variables, it is difficult to determine the exact quantity of electricity that solar panels generate on a certain rooftop without a solar survey.
5,000 kWh per month Solar system cost.
The price of a solar system per watt ranges from $2.1 to $2.95 depending on the caliber of the tools used in installation and the labor force needed to install it; as a result, the cost of a solar system for a 5,000kWh per month solar system in the USA ranges from $77,700 to $109,150.
In addition to the aforementioned, you might also need to spend a little extra for the solar installation because there are a variety of variables that can affect how much a solar system costs, like the rooftop's accessibility and the battery backup. Some of the most important variables are listed below.
Factors that influence the cost of the solar system.
Rooftop type: Solar Installation cost for a flat rooftop is higher than inclined rooftop because a flat rooftop required more structure and takes more time for installation than an inclined rooftop. However, installing on a rooftop with a higher angle of inclination needed a man-lifter crane, which raised the cost of installation.
Age of Rooftop: An old rooftop may require repairing before the installation of solar panels. Installing, solar panels on rooftops without inspection may lead to much higher repair costs.
Solar panels type: Solar panels are classified into two types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive than polycrystalline panels. Monocrystalline, on the other hand, is more efficient and smaller. Monocrystalline panels are preferable for rooftops with smaller shadow-free areas.
Solar inverter type: For rooftop solar systems there are two types of solar inverters are used, that is micro-inverters and string inverters. Micro-inverters are directly mounted on each solar panel, whereas string inverters are mounted in your houses and DC cables from all solar panels are connected to string inverters.
Going with a string inverter is cheap; however, the performance of micro inverters is very much better in terms of efficiency as well as in the expendability of the solar system. Furthermore, string inverters come with 5 years of warranty, whereas micro-inverters come with 25 years of warranty.
Tracking system: A tracking system tracks the weather with weather monitoring sensors as well as solar power generation. Weather tracking helps estimate the actual efficiency of the solar panels and it comes with a cost too.
However, for a household solar system, you will not have weather monitoring tracking. It is only required for utility-scale systems (>100kW)
Battery Backup: If you need battery backup with solar for backup power during a power outage then you will need to pay more for the same. The cost to pay for battery backup is subject to the size of the battery bank.
Six easy steps to choose the right company for your solar installation.
You are currently at the halfway point of your solar journey since you know how many solar panels are required to produce 5,000 kWh per month and how much they cost. In the middle of your solar journey, you must decide how to pick the best solar provider in only Six simple steps.
Step #1 Credentials: Check the credentials of the solar company, a right solar company must have all the credentials required for installing solar systems.
Organizations such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) issue industry-standard credentials, which are commonly regarded as the gold standard among renewable energy system installers.
Make certain that the solar installer you select is licensed, bonded, and insured to install residential solar installations in your region. Also, do forget to ask whether they will use subcontractors on your job and double-check their credentials.
Step #2 Customer service: A great solar installation required great customer service.
However, depending on only online reviews is not the right parameter to check customer service, because people tend to submit negative experiences more than positive ones.
Hence don’t hesitate to ask for one or two references in your or nearby area that can serve as a reference and if possible visit these sites.
Step #3 Credibility and Expertise: It must have expertise and credibility for installing solar equipment and be knowledgeable about all aspects of the process. A good rule of thumb is to sign with installers who have at least three years of experience.
A good rule of thumb is to sign with installers who have at least three years of experience.
Step#4 Addressing Roof Conditions: When you hire a solar contractor, one of the first things they should do is inspect your roof. Inquire with your installer whether they recommend roof repair prior to installation. Also, make sure you understand who is responsible for any roof damage or leaks that may occur.
Step #5 Warranties: Before, signing up the company understands how their warranties work, and what are the key points of their contracts. Both the workmanship and installed equipment have different warranties period. Always, go with the solar company, which has transparencies with their warranty conditions.
Always, go with the solar company, which has transparencies with their warranty conditions.
Step #6 Never select a company only on price: A low-quality solar panel and installation material can make a huge difference. Always chose a solar company on the basis of feedback and reviews, if a solar company didn’t have many or any references but quotes are very low, just strikeout them out from your list.
If possible, visit their installed solar system (one old and one newly installed) and talk with the property owner. This will help you to understand their work finishing and how solar make a change in people's life.