The Best Solar System Size for New York State

NY_3More and more New York State residents are making the decision to go solar to save money on their electricity bills. According to data from the New York Solar Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), most homes choose a system with a capacity of around 8 kilowatts (kW). What size solar energy system is right for you and your home?

Selecting the appropriate solar system size for your New York home

6kW and 10kW are two of the most popular system sizes in the US. In New York State, 8kW systems have become the norm. Nevertheless, the actual range of home system sizes installed in New York so far this year has been between about 4kW and 11kW. Choosing the right size for your home mainly comes down to understanding how much electricity you use: ideally you’ll want a system that produces roughly enough solar electricity to match your needs.

How much electricity do you use?

Do you know how much electricity your home consumes per day? Per month? Throughout the changing seasons? If you don’t know, take a look at a recent electricity bill to find out. Your bill should show you how many units (kilowatt-hours or kWh) you purchased from your utility in the last month. If you’ve been in your home for over a year, your bill will also show you your historic usage trends, such as the average amount of electricity you used per day in the same month of the previous year. Some utilities also have online portals through which you can view your historic usage data in even greater detail.

Remember: Any quality solar installation company will be able to look at your electricity bill and recommend a system size based on your usage levels and patterns. You can compare quotes from multiple pre-screened installers who service your part of New York State by shopping on EnergySage’s New York Solar Marketplace.

As you look more closely at your electricity consumption habits, you’ll probably notice that you use more electricity during some seasons than others. For most homes electricity consumption jumps significantly in the summer months because they use air conditioning when the weather is hot. In order to get a general idea of what size system you need, however, an annual average is sufficient.

Table 1 below gives you an idea of what size solar system may be best for your needs in New York State. If your household uses around 20kWh per day on average, for instance, a 5kW or 6kW system would probably produce enough electricity to eliminate or significantly reduce your electricity bill.

Keep in mind that these figures assume you have a roof with good solar exposure (i.e. appropriate angle and orientation and little or no shading from nearby objects). Additionally, the numbers do not account for variations in sunshine levels due to your location (e.g. far upstate NY receives less sunshine than Long Island). For a more personalized assessment, you should speak with an accredited installer to find out how much energy should cost.

Table 1: Appropriate solar energy system sizes for various levels of daily household electricity consumption (estimated).
Average daily household electricity usageAppropriate solar energy system size (approximate)*
10kWh3kW
15kWh4-5kW
20kWh5-6kW
30kWh8-9kW
40kWh11-12kW
50kWh14-15kW

*Assuming average daily electricity production of 3.5kWh for every kW of capacity installed, as per PVWatts.

Ready to learn more about solar in New York? Register today to get quotes from pre-screened installers!

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