How Much Energy Can Be Generated by Solar Panels: Detailed Guide

How Much Energy Can Be Generated by Solar Panels: Detailed Guide

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Before buying and installing solar panels, you will need to consider if it is worth switching to solar energy. You might ask yourself, how much energy can be generated by solar panels? Is it sufficient to meet all your needs?

Here’s a guide on determining the amount of energy produced by solar panels. But before we dive in, let us define how solar panels work to generate energy.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

A solar panel functions by permitting light particles known as photons to knock electrons from their atomic orbitals. When this process takes place, the flow of electricity is produced.

Moreover, the electricity is harnessed and stored as electrical energy used that can be used to power your home. Additionally, most solar panels consist of thousands of photovoltaic cells, and multiple solar panels make up a solar array. The solar arrays are linked to the storage battery or electric grid to ensure the appropriate direction of the generated energy.

How Much Energy Can Be Generated by Solar Panels?

How Much Energy Can Be Generated by Solar Panels?

Image Source: cnet.com

Watts is the unit utilized to measure power in terms of energy per unit of time. On average, a single panel will produce 170-350 Kilowatt hours (kWh). But the latest best flexible solar panels for residential homes can generate between 250-400 Watts.

This means a panel can produce between 770-850 kWh yearly. Though, it’s necessary to note that a household requires approximately 10,000 kWh annually. Hence, 20-30 panels should produce adequate power to meet yearly energy requirements. However, this depends on the direct sunlight and weather conditions.

Panel manufacturers have identified the average amount of solar power output for every product. Therefore, you must read the labels and research online to find the most appropriate panels for your home, depending on energy consumption and installation space.

The wattage power output rating represents the amount of energy your solar panel can generate hourly under standard testing conditions. It also defines the peak or highest power quantity a solar panel can generate.

Solar panel manufacturers measure performance at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, assuming there are no obstructions or wind. However, since real-life situations are more complicated, you need to anticipate the output of your solar panel to be lower than the maximum ratings declared by the manufacturers.

How Much Solar Output Power Can Your Solar System Generate Daily?

how much solar power can your solar system generate daily?

Image Source: gosolarquotes.com.

Anybody can determine the amount of electricity a solar panel can generate using the rated wattage of a solar panel. Therefore, your total solar panel wattage plays a considerable role in the general cost of your solar system. Subsequently, the solar panel output is measured in watts and portrays the panel’s theoretical power production.

Let us first look at the main solar panel terms

  • Kilowatts or KW is the measure of electrical power equal to one thousand watts
  • Kilowatts hour or kWh is the measure of electrical energy equal to the consumption of one thousand watts for one hour
  • DC or direct current is the power that is first generated from the solar panel
  • AC or alternating current is the DC power converted into AC for use in household appliances

You can calculate the amount of solar panel output using this simple formula.

  • Daily Watt in hours=Power in watts x Average hours of direct sunlight.

For instance, a 300W solar panel gets 6 hours of sunlight daily. Therefore, the total power output is 300W x 6 hours = 1800Wh. To convert to the normal measurement of kWh, divide 1800Wh by 1,000 to get 1.8 kWh daily.

Note that using this formula, you can calculate the amount of energy production annually, monthly, and weekly.

  • Weekly=1.8kwh x 7 = 12.6kwh
  • Monthly=1.8Kwh x 30 days = 54kwh
  • Yearly=1.8kwh x 365 days = 657kwh

However, the amount of peak sunlight hours to expect in your region may not be clear. Still, most solar installation organizations manufacture tables of estimated sunlight exposure within their installation service zone.

However, your solar panels produce less or more energy than advertised, depending on weather conditions and the angle of your house roof.Therefore, their experience in your area and neighborhood will assist you in optimizing the placement of your solar panels.

Calculating the Number of Solar Panels That You May Need

Calculating the number of energy solar panels that you may need

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We will use the US as an example. In the US, the average energy need of a family is a 6.62 kw solar system. Moreover, if a solar panel produces 320 watts of electricity during sunny conditions, you can calculate how many solar panels are needed.

Divide the system size 6.62 kw by wattage per panel .320 equals 21 solar panels when rounded up.

What Kinds of Solar Panels Are Available for Residential Installation?

What kinds of solar panels are available for residential installation?

Image Source: forbes.com

You must understand the different types of residential solar panels to get a clear picture of how much energy a solar panel can produce.

1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels

These are the most common solar panels that consist of pure silicon. They are acknowledged for their high efficiency and longer lifespan. However, they are priced at the high-end

2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels

The solar panels consist of melted silicon crystals. They are recognized for being moderately efficient and have a shorter lifespan compared to monocrystalline solar panels.

3. Thin-Film Solar Panels

Solar panels contain various materials, including silicon. As a result, solar panels are more affordable. However, they have the shortest lifespan and are less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline solar panels.

You must gain insight into the various types of solar panels, the strategic placement of your residential solar panels, and the quality of solar equipment to obtain maximum solar production from your residential solar panel. Remember to consider the cost to value when comparing the solar panels in the market.

What Factors Impact the Amount of Electricity That Solar Panels Can Produce? 

What factors impact the amount of electricity that solar panels can produce? 

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Bear in mind that different elements impact how much power is generated by a solar panel system. However, the most influential factors are solar panel characteristics and the amount of sunlight the solar panel can access.

1. Characteristics of a Solar Panel

When considering power production, you must consider the solar panel’s power rating and wattage. Wattage is a solar panel’s power production under certain lab conditions or STC Standard Test Conditions.

You must recognize that most residential solar panels currently used possess a power rating of 300-370 watts in size. Keep in mind that the higher the solar panel wattage, the more electricity it produces. 

The construction of a solar panel determines its wattage. Therefore, solar cells are utilized to influence the solar panel’s wattage. Today, solar panels use monocrystalline solar cells due to their ability to produce more electricity than the older versions of polycrystalline solar cells.

Moreover, the number of cells in a solar panel affects the energy generated. Normally, solar panels have sixty to seventy-two cell panels and generate more electricity due to the many solar cells. 

2. Amount of Sunlight 

The quantity of sunlight that falls on a solar panel determines the amount of electricity generated. The more sunlight hits the solar panel, the more electricity it will generate. Moreover, solar panels produce more electricity in areas with increased peak sun hours.

Apart from solar panel attributes and the amount of sunshine, other factors can affect the amount of energy your solar panel produces

4. Shade

If your panel is covered either by dust, shaded by a tree, or from other houses, it will generate less electricity.

5. Slope and Direction of the Roof

The direction and slope of your roof will change the amount of solar electricity produced. A roof that faces south can generate more electricity.

6. The Angle of Your Roof

You must know that the angle of your roof determines your solar system’s performance. A roof that is tilted at approximately thirty degrees will give you the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions on Solar Panels

Frequently Asked Questions on Solar panels

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1. What if your home generates excess solar energy than needed?

If this happens, do not worry. It can occur if your house has more panels than needed, if the family has changed its energy use, or during prolonged direct sunlight. You find yourself having surplus energy during such cases.

Your local energy utility firm may offer you credit if you can store extra power in the local grid. You can also utilize a backup battery instead of installing an on-site energy storage system. Moreover, surplus energy can produce net metering credits to assist you in developing independence. You will not depend on the local power grid.

2. Which solar panels can produce the most electricity?

Higher-wattage solar panels can generate more electricity. Remember that high-wattage solar panels are costly, and you pay additional upfront for your solar system. However, if you have adequate space on your roof, you can produce a similar overall solar system by installing more lower-wattage panels.

3. Is it worth paying extra for a premium solar panel?

Generally speaking, the premium solar panel models look better, last longer, and produce more electricity. But you will correspondingly pay for the better-looking, better-lasting, and better-producing panels. However, despite the high costs of premium solar panels, they lose limited output as the temperature increase, have better warranties, and are more efficient.

Conclusion

To sum it up, you now know how much electricity your solar panel and the whole system can produce. Moreover, you have realized that surplus solar energy at your home is a good problem to have because it is associated with some benefits. Installing solar panels in your house gives you renewable energy and saves electricity costs because it is free. Therefore, install enough solar panels to cover all your electricity costs and save money.

Featured Image Source: ecoredux.com

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.