What size solar panel system do you need?

Solar panel house

Three easy steps:

  1. Decide how many solar panels you need
  2. Work out how much roof space you have
  3. Ensure your roof can bear the weight of your chosen system

Step 1: Decide how many panels you need

The number of solar panels you need ultimately depends on how much electricity you want to generate.

Most domestic systems have a capacity of between 1 kilowatt (kW) and 4 kW. Larger‑capacity systems are more productive—and will save you more money—so you should get the biggest system you can for your home.

Read more about capacity and output in our guide How much energy do solar panels produce for your home?

Step 2: Work out how much roof space you have

Most homes in the UK have roofs that can accommodate solar panels. However, if your roof has a window, chimney or vertical flue, this could reduce the amount of space you have for a solar panel system.

For an idea of overall size:

Bear in mind that some brands of panel have a larger capacity so may cover a smaller area of roof space.

How big is a solar panel?

There are many brands of solar panel, and each brand is slightly different in size. However, on average, one standard solar panel will be approximately:

A solar panel is made up of a series of small photovoltaic (PV) cells wired together. Most domestic systems use solar panels that have 60 of these cells.

The full system (known as an array) consists of a number of solar panels, typically placed next to one another.

At YES Energy Solutions, we offer two types of solar panel, depending on the system you choose.

  • Standard—Vikram Eldora Ultima 250W polycrystalline panel
    1,640 mm (length) × 992 mm (width) × 40 mm (height) (or 1.63 m2)
  • Deluxe—SolarWorld 280W monocrystalline panel
    1,675 mm × 1,001 mm × 33 mm (or 1.68 m2)

Step 3: Ensure your roof can bear the weight of your chosen system

There will be some variation between brands as to the weight of a single panel, but the standard 60‑cell solar panels used in most residential systems weigh 18 kg–20 kg.

The solar panels YES Energy Solutions use have the following weights:

  • Standard—Vikram Eldora Ultima 250 W polycrystalline panel
    5 kg
  • Deluxe—SolarWorld 280 W monocrystalline panel
    18 kg

Using the SolarWorld brand as an example, this means the system has:

  • a combined weight of 288kg (a 4 kW system of 16 panels)
  • a weight per square metre of 3kg (the system fills roughly 28m2 of roof space)

Most homes have roofs that can easily support this weight, although an installer would determine this—and whether any work is needed to strengthen the roof—as part of their initial inspection.

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