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How to Determine the Size of a Grid-Tied Solar System

Purchasing a solar system is a wise decision for homes. Solar panels and photovoltaic systems of the latest generation are simple to install, maintain, and operate, and they provide long-term performance and energy savings.
You’ll want to know how to size your grid-tied solar system effectively to cover your energy demand patterns without oversizing your PV array if you want to get the most out of it.
To get the most out of your solar installation, follow these steps to gain a sizing estimate, evaluate your solar demands, and choose the proper panels.

Sizing a Solar System: A Beginner’s Guide

Before you start sizing a solar system, you need to figure out the project’s major constraints and use those as a starting point for the design. You can take one of three approaches to the project:
  • Budget constraints: Create a system that fits within your budget.
  • Limited space: Create a system that uses as little space as feasible.
  • Energy offset: Create a system that offsets a portion of your energy consumption.
Other sizing issues and common setbacks that may affect how to size a solar system include:
  • Sun exposure levels in the area
  • The array’s orientation (tilt angle)
  • Future growth plans
  • Ratings of product efficiency
  • Natural depreciation of performance over the warranty period
Follow these steps to size a grid-tied solar system once you’ve assessed your solar demands and determined your design method.

Calculating Your Energy Consumption

Follow these procedures to calculate your home’s average electricity consumption and PV needs before you start sizing a solar system:

1. Determine your kWh usage

  • Take a look at your electric bill to see how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) you used. To look at peaks and valleys in usage across a year, you’ll need a complete year’s worth of data. The use of your A/C and heating systems increases your energy consumption in the summer and winter.
  • Calculate your average monthly kWh consumption. To calculate your kWh usage over a 12-month period, add up your total kWh usage and divide by 12.
  • Calculate your daily kWh consumption. To calculate your daily kWh usage, multiply by 30.

2. Find out when the sun is at its brightest

The average peak solar hours vary a lot depending on where you live and how hot it is. To get the most of solar electricity, you’ll need to figure out how many peak hours of sunlight you’ll get:
  • Check your peak sun hours on a sun hours chart to see how many hours each day the sun produces peak sunlight.
  • Locate the city closest to you and record the daily average of peak solar hours.

3. Figure out how big your solar system is

To determine the size of your solar system, multiply your daily kWh energy need by your peak sun hours to get the kW output. Then divide the kW output by the efficiency of your solar panels to get an estimate of how many solar panels you’ll need for your system.
DC solar system size = (daily kWh / average sun hours) x 1.15 efficiency factor
If you live in Abuja, Nigeria, for example, you have an average of seven peak sunlight hours every day. According to the math, you’ll require 5.3 kW DC:
(33 kWh / 7.2 sun hours) × 1.15 efficiency factor = 5.3 kW DC solar system size required
Using the 5.3 kW DC system as an example, multiply this amount by 1,000 to determine that 5,300 watts of solar panels are required.
Solar panel required: 5.3 kW x 1000 watts (convert to watts) = 5300 watts

Fine-tuning the System Design Estimate

You’ll also want to consider the sort of roof mount you’ll need, the direction your panels will face, and the proper size panels to meet your design to make the solar system sizing estimate as precise as possible.

1. Choose a Mount Type

Because roof mounts are less expensive than other racks, they are the simplest and most cost-effective option. To see if you can use a roof mount, do the following:
  • Go to Google Maps and look for the address. Check to determine if there are any viable south-facing roof mount possibilities. You’ll need to tweak the system by adding more solar if the solar array can’t face south at the appropriate angle. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, your solar system should aim toward the equator, so seek for north-facing options instead. The solar panels are often kept near to the inverter and service panel because the roof slope is already set up for solar gain. This results in increased efficiency and lower conduit and cable expenses.
  • If a roof mount isn’t possible, think about a ground or pole-mounted solution. Unlike a sloped roof, you can install solar panels in any direction to maximize sun exposure on level ground.

2. Select the Correct Solar Panels

Solar panel size is a significant issue when deciding on the size of a solar system if you have a small or odd-shaped roof. Consider the following factors:
  • If your useable roof surface is vast, you can buy more larger panels (at a lower cost per panel) to reach your goal energy output.
  • If your usable roof area is small or partially shaded, the most cost-effective, long-term approach will be to use fewer smaller high efficiency panels. Later, if your energy needs grow, you can install more panels.

3. Determine the output of the solar system

Use a PV watts calculator to figure out how much power your system will produce monthly once you know how much space you have for solar panels and what angles and directions you’ll be dealing with.

Choosing Solar Equipment That Is Grid-Tied

Our grid-tied solar packages are a great place to start when looking for grid-tied solar. After you’ve sized a solar system, here are a few potential options to consider. It’s worth noting that imported panels are more cost-effective, so you receive around 10% higher output for the same price.

Jinko Solar panels in grid-tied systems:

  • 3.6 kW 48V Jinko Solar Inverter + Lithium Battery + Cabinet + Solar Panels
  • 5 kW 48V Jinko Solar Inverter + Lithium Battery + Cabinet + Solar Panels
  • 8 kW 48V Jinko Solar Inverter + Lithium Battery + Cabinet + Combiner + Solar Panels
  • 10 kW 48V Jinko Solar Inverter + Lithium Battery + Cabinet + Combiner + HV Control Box + Solar Panels

Do you require assistance with solar system sizing?

Of course, it’s sometimes easier to speak with a professional who understands how to size a solar system and can guide you through the design process. Once you’re ready, we do encourage you to schedule a free design consultation with us so that we can double-check your sizing, find compatible products, and ensure the system works within your constraints (budget, build space, and energy offset).
Call us at 234-802-523-4859 to speak with one of our designers about your solar needs. We’d be delighted to assist you in designing the ideal grid-tied solar system to match your needs.

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