How Much Power Do Solar Panels Produce?

You know that solar panels absorb and convert the heat of the sun into energy. But what about how much power do solar panels produce? The short answer is the average solar panel can produce about 250 to 400 watts. This is about 2.5 to 4 kilowatt hours, or kWh, per day. However, this is just an average, and the power output of a solar panel depends on several factors, as we at Atlasta Solar Center further explain below.

What is a Kilowatt?

It’s important to understand how the energy produced by a solar panel is measured. Electricity is measured by a unit called watts; a kilowatt, or kW, is a measure of power within an electrical system, such as a solar system. The output, or amount of energy generated by solar panels, will change throughout the day, due to changes in sunlight, weather, season, etc.

Kilowatts represents a solar systems power capacity. However, kilowatts does not refer to the system’s potential to create energy over a specified period of time, such as an hour, day, or year. For that, kilowatts hours, or kWh, steps in. Kilowatt hours are a more accurate representation of solar production. For example, if a solar panel has an output rating of 200 kilowatts, then the system will generate about 2kWh per day.

Factors That Affect Solar Panel Output

The amount of power that a solar panel can produce is sometimes referred to as nameplate wattage. This amount of wattage is what could be produced under ideal conditions. However, several factors can affect how much energy a solar panel will actually produce:

Amount of Sunlight and Region

The more direct sunlight a panel is exposed to, the more electricity it generates. Ideally, you want to have a solar system installed on southern facing roofs in the northern hemisphere, to capture the most sunlight.

Where you live also plays a big factor. If you live in a sunny state, and/ or in lower latitude state, such as Arizona, your panels will likely receive more sunlight.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have solar panels if you live in a cloudier or higher latitude state. Solar technicians know how to optimize a system solar, no matter the location. Remember: solar panels only produce energy when the sun is out. If you’re unsure how much sunlight the area where you live receives, be sure to check peak sunlight hours.

Orientation of the Panels

The tilt of solar panels can further optimize sunlight exposure. A general rule of thumb is to match the tilt of the panels to the latitude of the region in which they’re installed. For example, a solar array installed at a 50-degree latitude would have a tilt of 50- degrees.

Another benefit of tilted panels is that the tilt encourages the panels to stay clean. How so? Rain and snow help wash the panels of any dust or debris.

Roof Space

How much roof space can determine the size of solar array, and what type of panels, are to be installed.

Panel Type

Solar panels are generally dived into 3 categories:

Monocrystalline: These panels are the most energy efficient panel, and are made from one large silicon crystal. As a result, they are usually the most expensive type of panel.

Ideal For: People who want the highest power yield possible, and/ or have limited roof space.

Polycrystalline: The most common type of solar pane, polycrystalline panels are made of several smaller silicon crystals. These panels produce about 1% less power than monocrystalline panels, but are still reliable.

Ideal For: Individuals who want reliable performance, but want to save on cost.

Thin Panel: Also known as amorphous panels, these panels are the most affordable option and the easiest to install. These have the lowest power yield of the three solar panel types. The result? You will need three times the roof space of monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, to reach the same power yield. The upside is these panels are usually thought to be the best looking panel, as they have an all-black, sleek design.

Ideal For: Individuals who want the most cost-friendly option for solar panels. However, you must have plenty of roof space to install thin panels.

Ambient Temperature

Sunny weather is definitely a plus for solar panels, as they sunlight in the first place to operate. However, ambient, our outside temperatures, can affect solar energy output. The best temperature for solar panels is 77 degrees F. The hotter the temperature is over 77, the less efficient solar panels operate. This may sound contradictory, but higher temperature hinder the panel’s ability to convert sunlight into electricity.

This does not mean that solar panels cease to work in extremely hot temperatures. Afterall, solar panels can reach temperatures around 150 degrees F. However, proper installation and ventilation can help address the issue of decreased solar output. As always, Atlasta Solar Center considers all factors when installing a solar system for your property or business.

Solar panel output.
Panel output refers to how much wattage, or electricity, a solar panels produces.

How To Calculate the Energy Output of a Solar Panel

To calculate how much energy, or wattage, a panel can produce in a day, you need to know:

· Panel’s output: how much wattage your panel generates, under ideal conditions.

· Local peak sun hours: the amount of direct sunlight hours where you live.

Multiply these two figures in the following formula:

Kilowatt-hours (kWh) = (Hours of sunlight x Watts)/1,000

For example, let’s say a solar panel’s wattage is 350 watts, while you receive 8 hours of sunlight a day.

Kilowatt-hours (kWh) = (8 hours x 350 watts)/1,000

The number of kilowatt hours produced here is 2.8 kWh per day. Now let’s calculate annual kilowatts , or kWh produced in a year:

(2.8 kWh/day) x (365 days/year) = 1,022 kWh per year

So, for a solar panel that produces 3.5 kWh daily, it would annually produce 1,022 kWh. However, remember these are wattages resulting in ideal conditions.

Atlasta Solar Center: Your Trusted Source For Solar Solutions

Atlasta Solar Center has been installing solar systems since 1979. We understand that everyone’s energy needs are different, which is why always consider each and every factor when it comes to providing the best solar solution for your needs. While you can make some calculations on your own, contact us for a complimentary solar site analysis, by calling us at 970.248.0057.

Leave a Comment