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How Big Does a System Need To Be?


Big Fairgrounds Array


Solar electric systems are often described by the nominal power rating of the solar panels. I have twelve 75W modules so I can describe the system as a "900W system," or almost a kW. A one kW system is an average size for a small stand-alone home system powering a good assortment of typical AC loads. However, this oversimplifies the situation.

We need to size:

  1. Panel array
  2. Battery bank, if applicable
  3. Inverter

To do this we need to know:


  1. Load analysis - average and surge
  2. Real world performance of components
  3. Budget

It is common to do a load analysis and find that a system to match is out of the budget. By increasing efficiency and planning for later expansion a compromise can be reached.


Next page: Putting It Together