Solar Panels Design for Your Home or Business

Dean Emerick

August 8, 2023

Harnessing the power of the sun to generate electricity for your home not only lowers your energy bills, but also contributes to a cleaner environment. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the solar panel design process and decision-making for the best solar power system for your home. We will consider factors such as location, sun exposure, roof space, and energy needs to optimize efficiency and savings.

Short Summary

  • Design a tailored solar power system for your home by assessing location, sun exposure, roof space & energy needs.
  • Different types of panels have varying advantages and disadvantages to consider when selecting the best option.
  • Financial incentives & environmental benefits make switching to solar an attractive choice, research local options with

Get multiple Free Solar Quotes in minutes! Easily compare vetted professional solar installers in your region with current incentive programs available in your province, and across Canada.

Designing Your Solar Power System

Designing a solar power system for your home is a crucial step in ensuring you can reap the benefits of renewable energy. Taking into account factors like location, sun exposure, roof space, and energy needs will help you choose the right solar panels and other components to optimize efficiency and savings. As a homeowner, understanding these factors will empower you to make informed decisions and work with your solar installer to create a tailored solar system that suits your specific requirements.

For example, if your home is located in an area with abundant sunlight, you may want to invest in a solar PV system with more efficient solar panels to maximize the electricity generated. On the other hand, if your home has limited roof space or is situated in an area with less sun exposure, you may need to consider installing solar panels with a larger surface area.

Ultimately, the goal is to design a solar power system that meets your energy needs while minimizing installation costs and maximizing energy production with the help of an efficient solar panel system.

Location and Sun Exposure

One of the most important factors in designing a solar power system is assessing your home’s location and sun exposure. The optimal location for solar panels is on a south-facing roof, as this receives the most sunlight in the northern hemisphere. Evaluating your home’s location helps you determine the best placement for solar panels to maximize their generation of excess electricity, which can be sold back to the grid for additional savings.

When evaluating a home’s location for solar panel installation, consider factors like sun exposure, location, and the type of deep cycle battery that will be used for energy storage. It is essential to design the system for optimal sun exposure in order to maximize the efficiency and savings potential of your solar power system. The more sunlight your solar panels receive, the more electricity they will generate, ultimately reducing your reliance on grid electricity and lowering your energy bills.

Roof Space and Panel Orientation

Evaluating your roof space and determining the optimal panel orientation are crucial steps in maximizing solar energy production for your home. According to the solar energy industries association, the optimal orientation for rooftop solar panels is a south-facing roof that is free from any obstructions that may impede sunlight. The recommended tilt for solar panels is typically within 15 degrees of the latitude, with a 4:12 pitch or 18-degree tilt being a commonly used and ideal roof pitch for solar energy generation.

The correct orientation and tilt of solar panels can significantly maximize the daily and seasonal solar energy received and produced by the system. Even slight adjustments to the tilt and azimuth of a home can generate substantial solar energy gains. It is also essential to consider roof features such as gables, dormers, and ridge lines, which can affect the available area for solar.

While steeper tilts are beneficial for energy production, they may require additional installation costs as they involve working at difficult angles. Furthermore, steeper tilts are suitable for off-grid homes or net-zero homes, as they allow snow to shed more easily.

Evaluating Energy Needs

Analyzing your household’s energy needs is essential in choosing the right size and type of solar power system for your home. By designing the system for the worst-case scenario, where energy demand is highest, you can ensure your solar power system is both reliable and efficient. To estimate your solar electricity needs, gather information regarding your home and electricity usage, and determine the daily total energy demand by multiplying the power rating in Watts by the duration of operation in hours.

The solar installer will evaluate your electricity requirements and other elements, such as location and sun exposure, to calculate the appropriate size for your solar system. Designing your solar power system to meet peak demand may result in an increased cost, but it will ensure that the system is reliable and capable of supporting your energy needs.

By understanding your household’s energy consumption and working closely with your solar installer, you can create a solar power system that is not only efficient but also a cost-effective solution for your energy needs.

Types of Solar Panels and Their Applications

solar system, roof, power generation

There are three main types of solar panels available for residential use: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Each type of panel has its own advantages and disadvantages, and can be used for different applications depending on factors like location, budget, and energy needs.

Monocrystalline panels offer the highest efficiency, but come at a higher cost, while polycrystalline panels are less efficient, but also less expensive. Thin-film panels are the least efficient option, but they are the most cost-effective and can be suitable for certain situations, such as homes with limited roof space or lower energy demands.

Understanding the differences between these types of solar panels will help you make an informed decision about the best solution for your home.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single crystal of silicon and are known for their higher efficiency ratings compared to polycrystalline solar panels. They offer superior power output per panel, which means fewer panels are required to power your home, making them an ideal choice for homeowners with limited roof space or those looking to maximize their energy production.

However, monocrystalline panels come with a higher price tag, which may be a consideration for homeowners working with a limited budget. Despite their higher cost, monocrystalline panels offer a sleek and stylish appearance, which can be an important factor for homeowners concerned about the aesthetics of their solar power system.

This type of solar panel is ideal for homes with high levels of sun exposure, where the increased efficiency can help offset the higher upfront cost by generating more energy over the lifetime of the system.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are composed of numerous silicon crystals within a single PV cell, making them a more cost-effective option compared to monocrystalline panels. While polycrystalline panels are less efficient than their monocrystalline counterparts, their lower price point makes them a popular choice for homeowners seeking a more affordable solar power solution.

Although polycrystalline panels have a slightly lower efficiency rating, they can still provide a significant amount of energy for your home, especially in areas with abundant sunlight. When selecting the type of solar panels for your home, it’s important to weigh the cost and efficiency of each option to determine the best fit for your specific needs and budget.

Thin-Film Solar Panels

Thin-film solar panels are composed of one or more layers of thin-film material designed to convert light energy into electrical energy. While they are the least efficient type of solar panel, their lower cost makes them an attractive option for homeowners seeking a more budget-friendly solar power solution. Thin-film panels are also lightweight and flexible, making them easier to install and transport, and potentially suitable for homes with unconventional roof shapes or angles.

However, it’s important to remember that thin-film solar panels have a lower efficiency and a shorter lifespan compared to monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. This means that they may not be the best choice for homeowners with high energy demands or those looking for a long-term solar power solution.

Before choosing thin-film panels for your home, carefully consider the efficiency, cost, and lifespan of each type of solar panel to ensure you make the best decision for your specific needs.

Components of a Solar PV System

puzzle, jigsaw, jigsaw puzzle

In addition to solar panels, a solar PV system includes several other key components that work together to convert sunlight into usable electricity for your home: inverters, charge controllers, and batteries. Inverters are responsible for converting the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is used by most household appliances.

Charge controllers regulate the flow of electricity from the solar panels to the batteries, ensuring that the batteries are not overcharged or discharged too quickly, while batteries store the energy generated by the solar panels for use when sunlight is not available. By using solar panels, you can significantly reduce your electricity bills.

Understanding the role and function of each component in a solar PV system will help you make informed decisions about the best setup for your home.


Solar panels, also known as PV panels, are the primary component of a solar PV system, responsible for converting sunlight into electricity that can be used to power your home. They do this through the use of photovoltaic cells, which are made from materials like silicon that can absorb sunlight and generate an electrical current. As mentioned earlier, there are three main types of solar panels—monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film—each with its own advantages and disadvantages depending on factors like location, budget, and energy needs.

When selecting solar panels for your home, it’s important to consider factors like efficiency, cost, and aesthetics, as well as any local regulations or homeowner association rules that may apply. Be sure to work with a reputable solar installer who can help you choose the best solar panels for your needs and ensure a smooth installation process.


Inverters play a critical role in a solar PV system by converting the direct current (DC) electricity generated by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is used by most household appliances. The inverter must be carefully selected based on factors like input and output voltage and current ratings, the ability to manage the load current and current from the battery bank, and the power rating based on the total connected load.

To ensure that your inverter can handle the power demands of your solar power system, it is recommended to set the power rating of the inverter 20-30% higher than the power running the load, or 3-5 times higher than the power demand of a motor load.

By choosing the right inverter for your solar power system, you can ensure that your home’s appliances and electronics run smoothly and efficiently on the clean, renewable energy produced by your solar panels.

Charge Controllers

Charge controllers are an essential component of a solar PV system, responsible for regulating the flow of electricity between the solar panels and the batteries. Their primary function is to prevent overcharging or discharging of the batteries, ensuring that the solar power system operates efficiently and prolongs the life of the batteries. To determine the necessary rating of a solar charge controller, multiply the number of panels by the panel current and then multiply the result by 1.25.

The current rating of a charge controller is determined by utilizing the short-circuit current rating of the PV module and the voltage value of a charge controller is equivalent to the nominal voltage of the batteries.

Choosing the right charge controller for your solar power system will help maintain the overall efficiency and performance of your solar panels and batteries, ensuring that your home receives a reliable supply of clean, renewable energy.


Batteries are a vital component of a solar PV system, storing excess solar energy for use during periods of low sunlight or high energy demand. There are several types of batteries commonly used in solar PV systems, including lead-acid, lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, and nickel-metal hydride batteries. Each type of battery has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice will depend on factors like cost, efficiency, and lifespan.

When installing batteries in a solar PV system, it is important to consider the size of the battery, the type of battery, the voltage of the battery, and any safety precautions that must be adhered to. Regular maintenance of batteries in a solar PV system, including checking the charge level, ensuring secure connections, and replacing batteries when necessary, is essential for the efficient operation and longevity of your solar power system.

Installation Considerations

electrical planning, electrical installation, electrics

When planning a solar power system for your home, it is important to consider factors such as comparing local solar installation quotes and working with reputable installers to ensure a smooth and successful installation process. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with any local regulations, building codes, and homeowner association rules that may apply to solar panel installations can help you avoid potential issues and delays during the installation process.

By carefully considering these factors, you can ensure that your solar power system is installed efficiently and effectively, providing you with clean, renewable energy for years to come.

Compare Local Solar Installation Quotes

When considering solar power for your home, it is essential to obtain multiple quotes from local solar installers to compare costs, equipment, and services. This will help you find the best deal for your specific situation and ensure that your solar power system is designed and installed by a reputable and experienced professional. Factors to consider when comparing quotes include the total cost of the system, the cost per watt, the equipment included, warranties offered, and the reputation of the installer.

In addition to comparing designs and production estimates for the solar panels themselves, be sure to consider any additional costs associated with the installation process, such as permits, inspections, and interconnection fees. By thoroughly evaluating multiple quotes and choosing the best option for your unique needs and budget, you can ensure that your solar power system is a sound investment that will provide clean, renewable energy for your home for years to come.

Get multiple Free Solar Quotes in minutes! Easily compare vetted professional solar installers in your region with current incentive programs available in your province, and across Canada.

Monitoring and Maintenance

spanner, tool, wrench

Regular monitoring and maintenance of your solar power system are crucial to ensuring optimal performance and longevity. By keeping an eye on your system’s performance and addressing any issues as they arise, you can help prolong the life of your solar panels, batteries, and other components.

Periodic cleaning of your solar panels can also help maintain their efficiency and maximize the amount of electricity they produce. If your system includes a solar monitoring system, be sure to familiarize yourself with its features and capabilities, as this can provide valuable insights into your system’s performance and any potential issues that may require attention.

Financial Incentives and Savings

Installing a solar power system not only provides clean, renewable energy for your home, but can also result in significant financial incentives and savings. Both Provincial and Federal governments offer tax credits or rebates for installing solar panels, which can help offset the upfront cost of the system. Additionally, net metering programs allow you to sell any excess electricity generated by your solar panels back to the grid, further reducing your energy bills. By taking advantage of these financial incentives and savings opportunities, you can make solar power a more affordable and attractive option for your home.

Environmental Benefits

forest, path, conifer

Switching to solar power not only saves you money on your energy bills, but also contributes to a cleaner environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Solar panels significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production, which helps reduce air pollution and protect the environment.

By choosing to power your home with clean, renewable solar energy, you can support a healthier planet and contribute to the global effort to combat climate change.

About is a comprehensive resource for homeowners considering solar power, offering expert advice, financial calculations, and support throughout the solar panel design and installation process. The website features in-depth information on solar power systems and components, as well as guidance on working with solar installers and navigating financial incentives and savings opportunities.

Get multiple Free Solar Quotes in minutes! Easily compare vetted professional solar installers in your region with current incentive programs available in your province, and across Canada.


In conclusion, designing and installing a solar power system for your home can result in significant financial savings and environmental benefits. By considering factors such as location, sun exposure, roof space, and energy needs, and selecting the best type of solar panels and system components, you can create a solar power solution that meets your unique requirements and maximizes your return on investment. With the guidance provided in this blog post and the resources available at, you can confidently take the first step towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for your home and the planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the basic design of a solar panel?

Solar panels are composed of interconnected cells laminated to glass in an aluminum frame, which can be wired and framed together to form a complete panel.

What is the 120 rule for solar panels?

The 120 rule for solar panels, as determined by the NEC, limits additional power sources such as PV or battery to a maximum safety limit based on the equipment label rating. This means that the PV breaker can be no larger than 40 amps.

What is the most efficient solar panel design?

Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient option, delivering an efficiency of between 15% to 22%. This makes them the ideal choice for those looking to maximize their energy output. They are also more durable and have a longer lifespan than other types of solar panels.

How to design my own solar system?

To design your own solar system, determine the size based on your energy needs and purchase the necessary components like inverters and racking. Install the racking for the panels, connect them to the racking equipment, and install the proper inverter.

How to design the solar system?

To design the solar system, calculate your electricity consumption and rate, consider available roof space, calculate the energy that can be generated with your solar radiation data, evaluate any shading issues, and select an appropriate solar module. This will ensure a successful PV system design.