Managing a farm requires a lot of electricity . . .
to run your appliances and equipment and to help you carry out your daily activities.
With the price of electricity skyrocketing, solar power may be your way out of constantly increasing utility bills.
If you’ve considered making a move to solar, you’ll want to know how to correctly size the system to cover your energy use patterns without oversizing your system.
So, there are two critical questions:
1) How much electricity do you use on average?
2) How much electricity do your appliances and equipment use?
There are no lightning-quick answers, but they’re easy enough to determine.
We’ll teach you how to calculate your power usage for a solar system.
Let’s take a look!
How to Calculate Power Usage for Solar
Your Annual Energy Usage
Gather at least 12 months of your electricity bills to calculate your annual energy use.
This will factor in any fluctuations each month since your usage may spike in summer for cooling and winter for heating, ensuring your energy needs will be met for all four seasons.
You can find your energy usage by:
- Accessing your account online
- Calling your electric company
- Reviewing your bills for the last 12 months
Now, if you’re looking at an off-grid system, the sizing process is different since you’ll need a battery bank. Click here for advice on how to size your off-grid solar system.
Your Equipment and Appliances
Knowing how much electricity your equipment and appliances need can help estimate how much money you spend each month on energy.
Check the Energy Guide label to determine the wattage of your appliances.
This label provides you with the average energy consumption and cost of the model.
You can also use an electricity usage monitor to test your devices and equipment.
Keep in mind that electricity usage monitors are only effective for small to medium-sized appliances.
If your appliance uses 220 volts or above, the monitor won’t work.
Estimate how often you use an appliance on any given day–your equipment use may fluctuate.
For instance, you may need to use heat lamps and other devices to warm your barn in the winter but rely on them less in the summer.
If necessary, you can keep a usage log for your appliances.
To estimate your energy usage, we also have a system-sizing calculator.
It requires you to enter your zip code, fill out a form, and calculate your system size.
Your zip code will tell us how many hours of sun your area has per day in the darkest months.
When filling out the calculator, remember to include all your appliances.
You should also add the ones you use in your home, along with the equipment in your barns or sheds.
Factors that Affect Sunlight Conversion
When learning how to calculate power usage for solar, you should remember that not all sunlight converts into electricity when it reaches the PV cell.
Various factors impact the limits of your solar cells.
The amount of light reflected away from the solar panel surface decreases its efficiency.
To counter reflection, you can use anti-reflection coatings and textured surfaces.
High-efficiency cells tend to be black or dark blue.
Solar panels perform the best under low temperatures.
In the heat of summer, the semiconductor properties may shift and cause a slight increase in the electrical current but a decrease in voltage.
Thermal management can reduce the trouble caused by high temperatures.
Unbound Solar Will Help You Calculate Your Solar Power Usage
Switching to solar energy can make a critical difference in the money you spend on electricity each month, not to mention the positive impacts on the environment.
If you have questions about how solar panels could benefit your farm or if you want a quote, contact us at Unbound Solar!
We can help you calculate your power usage for solar today!