What is my house consuming now?
In order to best see where you can save on energy costs, and how many solar panels we will need for your home, the first thing to do is to define what energy you and your family are using on a daily basis. What's absolutely necessary and what is frivolous. (And yes, I turn off lights behind my kids all the time, they will never get it!)
Add the wattage capacity of all general lighting circuits and the wattage rating of all of your plug-in outlet circuits.
Add together the wattage rating of all of your permanent appliances (washer/dryer, dishwasher, water heater, etc.).
Subtract 10,000 watts from the sum of all these, and multiply the result by 0.4 (40%). Then add 10,000 watts back in.
Compare the wattage of your air conditioner and furnace. Since you only use one at a time, add only the larger wattage rating to your equation.
Divide the resulting number of watts by volts (most homes use 220 volts) to get the number of amps, or the electrical load.
An energy load profile is a key step in determining how much solar you need. A load profile shows how much energy a home uses at each time of the day for each day of the year. It is a critical first step to evaluating the financial return a solar installation for your renewable energy system will offer.