Solar panels come in several sizes, but the average residential solar panel size is generally 3.25 by 5.4 feet (about 17.5 square feet.)
Like everything else when designing a solar array, the answer involves several variables.
- Panel efficiency influences rooftop space availability since efficiency is calculated with respect to the area occupied by the panel. An easy way to think about it is that the lower the solar panel efficiency rating, the greater roof space will be needed since you will have to install more panels to achieve the ultimate kW. Most people prefer to purchase the higher-efficiency panels, but these also cost more than the lower efficiency ones.
- Also, while you technically can install solar facing any direction, you will want to take advantage of the sun’s strongest rays for maximum production. Does it make financial sense for you to install an array on the North side of your home where there tends to be less sun or would it be better to install in another direction where the sun shines stronger and longer?
- You’ll want to take shade into consideration. Are there trees nearby? What about tall buildings? Is there a chimney in the way?
- Solar panels can be installed horizontally or vertically, depending on your aesthetic preferences, as well as, for maximum panel fit.
- Finally, if you are hoping to receive an incentive from a utility provider, they sometimes have rules with regards to which direction your array can be installed.