How many panels does it take to generate 12000 kWh per year?

12000 kWh Solar System All You Need to Know

12 MWh is the amount of electricity that can cover all of the year-round electricity needs of an average, modern home in the United States.

Taking into account an electricity tariff of 16 cents per kWh, setting up a solar power plant to generate 1,000 kWh per month will save you on average $1,920 on your annual electricity bill. Plus, you'll get a 30% federal tax benefit with solar.

Therefore, switching to solar energy for such an amount of electricity will be a smart financial decision, as it is also beneficial to the environment and the national power grid.

In this article, we will discuss the most important information about a 12000 kWh solar system; So, you will learn how to estimate how many panels does it take, the surface area needed, and its estimate cost.

What Size Solar System Do You Need?

The size of solar system you need to produce 12,000 kWh per year depends greatly on the available sunlight in your area.

To estimate the available sunlight in your area, you can use the Global Solar Atlas.

Once you've located your location on the Atlas map, the most important number you'll need is called Specific photovoltaic power output or PVOUT (annual average).

Size of solar power system = 12000 kWh ÷ PVOUT 


Size of solar power system = 12000 kWh ÷ Annual Peak sun hours

You can also use instead of PVOUT, the global irradiance, or as it is called in the solar industry, the annual average peak sun hours, but this number will not give you an accurate estimate of the size of the system you will need, as the solar system itself is not 100% efficient in converting all this incoming energy from the sun to power.

So, we prefer to use PVOUT because it is more accurate and captures all the potential factors affecting solar electricity production including location and local climate, air temperature, solar panel tilt angle and orientation, shading and pollution.

This value estimates the annual production efficiency of solar panels at a given location, which is measured in (kWh/kWp) kilowatt-hours generated per 1 kilowatt of solar power plants.

12000 kWh Solar System: All You Need to Know

For example, if the atlas shows a PVOUT value of 1689 kWh/kWp at your site and you want to generate 12,000 kWh of electricity per year. You will need at least an 8 kW system:

Size of solar power system = 12000 kWh ÷ 1689 kWh/kWp = 7.1 kWp

It’s a few less kilowatt-hours than what a 9kw solar system can run.

How Many Solar Panels for 12000 kWh?

Now that you have determined the size of the solar power system needed, you can divide it by the power rating of the panel you have chosen to install, but before that you must use the same units, meaning you will need to multiply the system size given in kilowatts by 1000 to convert kilowatts to watts (W), which will leave you with a number necessary panels without unit.

Required numbers of solar panels = (Size of solar power system × 1000) ÷ Power rating of the panel

Most residential solar panels on the market today are rated to produce between 250 and 400W.

The higher the wattage rating, the fewer panels you'll need.

Let’s plugging the numbers into the equation above. the power rating of our chosen panel (350W)

Required numbers of solar panels = (7.1kW × 1000) ÷ 350W = 20.3 or 21 panels when rounded up.

You should know that this estimate is based on a south-facing system and that you should take into account some other factors, such as the orientation and slope of your roof, the coverage of nearby trees and buildings, and the quality of the components in your system.

For example, if you wanted to install solar panels on a roof facing east-west instead of south, expect that you will have approximately 10 to 15 percent output reduction.

How Much Roof Space Is Needed For 12000 kWh Solar System ?

The space required for rooftop solar energy really depends upon two things:

Number of Solar Panels Needed: The more solar energy potential in your area (the number of peak solar hours you expect your panels to receive), the less panels are needed for a 12,000 kWh solar system, and the less space they take up.

Efficiency of the panels that will be used: The higher the efficiency of the panels, the less solar panels you’ll need, and the less space they’ll occupy.

The size of the solar panel varies depending on its efficiency and wattage. In general, the size of most residential solar panels is between 16 to 20 square feet.

This means that to calculate the area required for solar on your rooftop, you will need to multiply the area of solar panel by the number of panels you will install.

Total Area = Area of One Solar Panel × Number of Panels
For example, If the wattage of panel is 350 watts and has a square area of 18 square feet, to install a 7 kW solar system you would need 20 solar panels.

The amount of roof space you’ll need = 18 square feet × 20 solar panels = 360 square feet.

How Much Does a 12000 kWh Solar System Cost?

The cost of a fully installed solar system varies depending on its location, not only because the size of the system needed to generate 12,000 kWh may vary depending on the location of the project, but also due to differences in incentives depending on your location, mostly by state.

But in general, it is the differences in system sizes that have the greatest impact on the cost of a 12,000 kWh solar system.

On average, The cost per watt for a residential solar system ($/watt) in the United States is about $3/watt (before incentives).

Based on this information, this is the expected average cost of solar panels per system size.

Average Solar System Cost (before incentives) Average Solar System Cost (after incentives)
6 kW$18,000$13,320
7 kW$21,000$15,540
8 kW$24,000$17,760
9 kW$27,000$19,980
10 kW$30,000$22,200

If you want to get more accurate estimate of the cost per watt in your state, check out this article by energysage. You will find the average cost per watt in your state.

It's very easy to determine the expected cost of solar panels, just multiply the size of your solar array you need by the average cost per watt.​​

Is The 12000 kWh Right Solar System For Me?

12000 kWh Solar System All You Need to Know

If your home uses nearly as much electricity as the average household in the United States, about 11,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

You want to install a solar system that will generate a similar amount of energy that you consume daily, especially in the winter months, and allow you to comfortably increase your daily consumption in the future. A system of this size would be an adequate option to cover energy costs.

Before talking to a solar installation company about purchasing a system, it would be best to do these preliminary calculations so you can be certain that the system you will purchase will meet your anticipated needs.

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