Whether it is for living off the grid, or saving some bucks, using solar panels is an excellent choice. Rapidly being used worldwide, solar energy has taken over the world by storm. From homes, offices to government institutions, you will find solar panels being used everywhere.
The main reason why people prefer to use solar panels is to cut off the cost of electricity bills. The farmers, in this case, are one of the most affected communities as bearing huge energy costs is becoming difficult day by day.
If you are a farmer looking to save money on your utility bill, the foremost thing that you should be looking at is utilizing solar energy to power your small farm.
It is one of the most effective ways to cut down on utility bills, but you need to keep a few things in mind before installing solar panels for your farm. The number of solar panels you need depends on various factors, ranging from your initial budget to the amount of energy you require from them.
As the total installation cost will be directly affected by the number of solar panels you install, the first thing that you need to keep in mind is the estimated number of how many solar panels would be effective for your farm.
For this purpose, you might need to contact a solar agricultural consultant. But initially, you need to do a little research by yourself. The consultant will need to know the details of things like the land area and the budget, so you need to be aware of all those things first.
Determining how many solar panels you need
To do the research on your own to get to know more about your farm, the following are the steps you need to take, and by the end of it, you will learn how many solar panels do you need to power a farm.
Check your current energy costs : To begin with, you should know how much your current energy costs are. To do this, you can check your previous utility bills, preferably of the last twelve months. By checking on this factor, you will know how much you spend annually and your monthly average energy cost.
By determining your current energy expenditure, you can estimate how much cost would be saved when you switch to solar panels.
Moreover, you can get a rough idea of what percentage of your current bill can be switched to the expenditure on solar panels. Generally, solar panels help you save hundreds of dollars on energy bills.
However, if you want to get a broader idea of how much your energy bills have been affected by inflation, you can look at the bills of the past five or six years. This is important because the amount of money you are paying for power today will be increased by manifolds in the next ten years.
So, you’ll not only be escaping the cycle of energy inflation but also growing your annual or monthly savings. This way, solar panels help you in the long term, too.
The cost spent on kWh : Through your bills, you can also find out the kWh used in the past months or years. By doing so, you can understand in what circumstances you use more energy. It will help you understand in which months you tend to use more power.
Generally, the energy bill might be different in other months because the usage is different.
When the power usage remains similar, the costs still go up because of inflation, and when you switch to solar panels, a large amount of that cost can be avoided.
Production power : You can opt for 100% production by your solar panels, but that option is not always reliable. As discussed before, the energy usage differs each month. So, in some months, your solar panels might produce energy that goes over your needs. In addition to the energy usage, the weather patterns also change throughout the year, affecting production.
The ideal way is to check if there is a solar buyback program where you live. If there is, you won’t need to worry about the extra production as you can easily sell the excess back to the utility and get the credit back on your bill.
Later on in the process, your agricultural solar consultant will also weigh the options to find out what works best for you in this regard.
However, if you don’t have access to a solar buyback program, it is best to opt for 70-80% production so there would be less, if not any, production waste.
Check your location for sunlight : The location of the solar panels directly affects how much energy they produce, so it is essential to check your area for sunlight.
To check out this, you can use a PV Watts Calculator. In addition to the direct sunlight information, the calculator also gives you information about the energy produced and the dollar value for that energy. It provides precision for the perfect installation.
Find out the size of your solar system : By means of the data composed from the previous steps, you can find the ideal solar system for your farm. The average energy you want to be produced and the direct sunlight hours determine how big a solar system you would need.
The equation is: kWh per month / (avg sunlight per day * 30) = kW solar system.
Once you find out these values, you can easily determine the ideal kW solar system.
Calculate the number of solar panels : When you have the solar system size, multiply it by 1000, and then divide by panel wattage.
Solar system size x 1000 / panel wattage = the number of solar panels.
There are many variants of solar panels that produce different amounts of energy from 45W to 400W. If you opt for the 400W solar panels, the cost will be increased, but the total amount required will decrease. The overall impression is that the more energy the solar panels produce, the fewer of them you’ll need.
All of these steps can be made easier with the help of an agricultural solar specialist since precise measurements can be made only by visiting the site and looking at each aspect in detail.
In the end, giving a specific number on how many solar panels do you need to power a small form is an absurd idea until and unless you are not sure about the factors and the aspects discussed in this article.
To get the precise number of solar panels you need, you must know about the parameters involved, and this piece of information is provided just right here. Having read the article, you will know exactly how many solar panels you need to power a small farm.