How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for 2000 kWh per Month?

By Kami Turky

Last Updated:

With the rising cost of electricity, many homeowners are looking to switch to solar energy. But how many panels do you need for 2,000 kWh per month? 

The amount of solar panels depends on a variety of factors, such as the layout of your roof, and the climate you live in.

Generally speaking, a typical home in the United States needs around 44 panels to generate 2,000 kWh per month. 

In this article, I’ll walk you step by step through the process of calculating how many solar panels you need to generate 2,000 kWh per month.

Key Takeaways

  • The theoretical solar system size to produce 2,000 kWh per month is about 11.5 kW if you get 5.8 peak sun hours per day
  • The total peak sun hours per day in California is 5.8 and about 174 per month
  • The solar system experiences losses due to the climate, shading, and other factors, which can result in up to 14% losses
  • The real-life solar system size to generate 2,000 kWh per month would be 13.11 kW
  • The 2,000 kWh per month solar system requires about 44 solar panels of 300W rating
  • The cost of a 2,000 kWh per month solar system will be about $35,484
  • Over the course of 25 years using a 2,000 kWh per month solar system you can save about $64,116

How to Calculate the Number of Solar Panels You Need?

1. Find out the Peak Sun Hours in Your Area

The amount of electricity the solar panel produces depends on the number of direct sunlight hours it receives. 

However, the solar irradiance is not uniform throughout the day. Sometimes it can reach 300W/m², 500W/m², or even 1,000W/m² per hour.

So we use what is called peak sun hours to calculate the total amount of electricity produced by the solar system. 

Simply put, peak sun hours refer to how many hours per day a certain area receives direct sunlight every hour at an irradiance rate of 1,000W/m².

For example, if the solar system receives 4,000W/m², this means the peak sun hours per day are 4.

Without going into too much detail, you can use this calculator to find the peak sun hours per day in your area and multiply it by 30 to get the number of peak sun hours per month.

I live in California, so I’ll use the 5.8 peak sun hours per day for this example which is about 174 peak sun hours per month.

2. Calculate the Theoretical Size of Your Solar System

Now that we know the peak sun hours in our area per month (174 hrs), we can calculate the theoretical size of the solar system that produces 2,000 kWh per month.

To determine the size of your solar system, you can use the equation below:

The Solar System Size (kW) = Electricity Usage (kWh) / Peak Sun Hours per Month (hrs)

So, for a 2,000 kWh per month solar system:

Solar System Size (kW) = 2000 kWh /174 hrs = 11.5 kW

But, this is just a theoretical size of the solar system under ideal conditions, we need to adjust this size for system loss factors.

3. Factor in System Losses

Any solar system experiences many losses, such as shading, thermal losses, and inverter losses.

These losses reduce the total energy production of your system, so you need to account for them when sizing your solar system.

On average, solar system losses are about 14% of total energy production.

So if you’re generating 2,000 kWh per month theoretically, the real-life production would be around 1720 kWh per month.

To account for the losses in our example, you need to multiply the theoretical size of your solar system by 1.14:

The Real Life Solar System Size (kW) = Theoretical Solar System Size (kW) x 1.14

So, for this example: 

Real Life Solar System Size (kW) = 11.5 kW x 1.14 = 13.11 kW

4. Find the Total Number of Solar Panels

Solar panels are rated by their wattage output, usually ranging from 250 to 500W.

The solar panel wattage refers to the amount of electricity it can produce every peak sun hour

For example, the 300W solar panel generates 300W/m² for every hour of 1,000W/m² irradiance it receives.

To calculate the number of solar panels you need for your system, we need to know the wattage of the solar panel you’re using. 

Most residential solar installers use 325W or 300W solar panels, but we’ll use a 300W rating for this example.

Now we can calculate the total number of solar panels required for our system:

Number of Solar Panels = Real Life Solar System Size (kW) / Rated Panel Wattage (kW)

For this example: 

The Number of Solar Panels = 13.11 kW / 0.3 kW = 43.7 solar panels

You’ll have to round it up which means you need 44 solar panels in total for your 2,000 kWh per month system.

How Much Does a 2000 kWh Solar System Cost?

The average price of solar in the US is about $2.77/W before tax credits.

For an 18.3 kW solar system, the cost would be about $50,691.

After the federal tax credit which is about 30%, the price of your solar system would be around $35,484.

How Much Money Will a 2000 kWh Solar System Save Me?

A 2,000 kWh solar system can save you more than $64,116 over the course of 25 years.

To calculate your specific savings, follow this formula:

Total Electricity Produced (kWh) = Electricity Produced per Month x 12 x Solar System Lifespan (25 years)

Savings ($) = Total Electricity Produced (kWh) x Price per kWh ($) – System Initial Price ($)

In our example, the total electricity produced would be 2,000 kWh x 12 x 25 years = 6,000,000 kWh.

If your electricity rate is $0.166/kWh, then the total savings would be 6,000,000 kWh x $0.166 – $35,484 = $64,116.

FAQs

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Produce 2500 kWh Monthly?

You need 54 solar panels for a 2500 kWh monthly production.

What Size Solar System Do I Need for 1500 kWh per Month?

The size of your solar system for 1500 kWh monthly production is 9.8 kW.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for 2 kWh?

You need one 400W solar panel if you want to produce 2 kWh of electricity per day.

How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Make 3000 kWh?

You need 66 solar panels to generate 3000 kWh of electricity.

How Many Solar Panels Are Needed for 1000 kWh?

You need 22 solar panels for 1000 kWh of electricity.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for 5000 kWh?

You need 109 solar panels to produce 5000 kWh of electricity.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for 3 kWh per Day?

You need four 200W solar panels to produce 3 kWh of electricity per day.

How Many kWh Does 1 Solar Panel Produce per Day?

One solar panel can produce around 1.8 kWh per day.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the number of solar panels you need to generate 2,000 kW will still depend on your climate condition, the number of peak sun hours, and the wattage of your solar panel.

But on average, a 2,000 kWh solar system requires 44 solar panels to generate enough electricity for your home.

Do you still have questions? Leave a comment and our team of solar experts will be more than happy to help you out.

Kami Turky

Kami is a solar engineer with nearly a decade of experience in researching, testing, and reviewing various solar products. He has also provided technical consultation to several organizations on the best ways to incorporate solar energy into their operations. When he’s not busy helping others find the best solar solutions, Kami enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and exploring the natural wonders of his home state.

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