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Figure Loads for Solar Power and Water-Heating

Provision of electrical and thermal energy to your home from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power can be a smart move, if it is done properly. calculate important step in process, how much electricity you use now and which devices are using the most. Water heating can be important part of your total energy consumption, so that this burden has to be calculated.

Remember that your home needs to use energy as efficiently as possible, no matter what energy sources use. Examine your electricity bill by energy companies. Your monthly bill will show you exactly what you pay for.

Figure Loads for Solar Power and Water-Heating

Find number of kiloWatt hours kWh you were charged for during period. Look for number of days covered by bill. Divide energy consumed in kWh by number of days.

This gives you your average daily electricity consumption over period in kWh per day. Check back over last 12 months and do same calculation for each month of year. Make list of your average daily electricity use for each month of year.

Note month when consumption was highest. Determine how much current your electrical appliances are using. This is measured in amperes often called amps , and is always shown on back or side of large electrical appliances.

For lighting, power is given in watts and shown on light bulb or on its base. Go to each room in house in turn and write down current in amps used by every electrical appliance in room. Count number of lights and write down total number of watts. Don’t forget basement and garage.

Add up total current in amps of all appliances and total lighting load in watts. Convert number of watts of lighting into amps by dividing total watts by 110 volts. For example, 360 watts of lighting will consume 3.27 amps of current. Add lighting current to total current consumed by appliances. This number is maximum amount of current your electrical appliances, equipment and lights will consume if all appliances and all lights are turned on at same time.

The calculation you have made gives you figure for maximum possible electrical load. But few families switch on all appliances and turn on all lights at same time. Look again at list of appliances and lights. Which appliances might be running at same time, perhaps in evening when most of lights are on Add up this total in amps.

This is more realistic estimate of maximum electrical load you need to plan for. The calculation of water heating load is much more technical. Although detailed calculations are possible, they are complex.

For this reason engineers that design and install solar water heaters rely on simple guidelines to estimate what you need. For example, Florida Solar Energy Center recommends 10 square feet of solar collector area per person. Many contractors use guideline of 20 square feet for each of first two family members, with additional 8 to 14 square feet needed for each additional family member depending on your location.

In general, further north you are, larger area of solar collectors required. solar storage tank is sized in relation to total area of solar collectors. Contractors generally propose tank size of between 1.5 and 2.0 gallons per square foot of collector area.

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How to Figure Loads for Solar Power and Water-Heating

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