Do you want to save on electricity bills and, of course, leave fewer carbon footprints? Well, installing solar panels is the way to go. Save money while saving the planet!

You will find plenty of solar panels on the market, each promising to be better than the other. And, sometimes, it might be tiresome to select the one that generates enough output according to your need. So, how exactly do you analyze?

Estimating how much energy a solar panel can produce is certainly not rocket science. The amount of energy produced by a solar panel typically depends upon its size and sun hours. You might have bought the largest and the best solar panel there is, but if you place it in a shady spot, it might not be the most brilliant move.

A regular solar panel with about 60 to 72 solar cells will typically produce around 250 to 400 watts of energy. And, if you install a 30-panel solar system, you will have enough power to run all your electrical appliances all year round.

If you are more of a curious person, here is how the calculations work:

A 400 watts solar panel that receives 2.5 hours of direct sun-hours per day will generate 1 kWh of energy.

400 W X 5 hours = 2000 Wh (2 kWh)

Now, if you multiply this by 365, you will get your yearly solar power output.

2 kWh X 365 = 730 kWh

Not as complicated as you thought, right?

A study conducted by the United States Energy Information Administration in 2019 shows that the average energy consumption per US household was 29 kWh per day. 

This average is entirely dependent upon your usage. Therefore, it would be best to check your electricity bills and figure out your daily energy consumption before installing the solar panels.

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Is it possible to power an entire house with solar panels?

Ichijo Co., Ltd. (Japan) holds the Guinness World Records title for the most solar-powered houses built from 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2019.

Isn’t that interesting and tempting at the same time? So, yes, it is possible to power an entire house with the help of solar panels.

Before installing a solar panel in your household, it is best to know the list of heavy energy feeders you own. Heating and cooling appliances are the big-ticket items in terms of electricity consumption. Refrigerators, water heaters, heating, and cooling systems account for as much as 50% of daily electricity usage.

Household ItemsElectricity Consumption
Air Conditioning System17 %
Lighting10 %
Heating System15 %
TV and Dryers7 %
Water Heaters14 %
Refrigerators7 %
Clothes Dryers5 %
Fan, Microwave, Dishwashers, Humidifiers, etc.12 %
Not classified13 %

Source: The United States Energy Information Administration

Henceforth, suppose you have a spacious roof and enough resources for a solar power system. In that case, you can produce more than enough energy to power all your essential and non-essential household appliances.

How much energy can one square foot solar panel produce?

The easiest way is to figure out the peak instantaneous electricity production per square foot for your solar panel at standard test conditions. You will find this information on the leaflet that comes along with your solar panel.

However, if you prefer it the hard way, let’s go through some mathematical calculations.

Modern photovoltaic (PV) solar panels will produce around 8 to 10 watts per square foot of the solar panel at standard test conditions. For instance, let us take a solar panel with dimensions 25 feet by 8 feet or 200 square feet. This solar panel would produce 9 watts of energy per square foot on standard conditions.

Factors affecting solar panel energy output

Basically, the higher the wattage of the solar panel, the more energy it will produce. Although the most critical factor affecting energy production is the wattage of solar panels, numerous factors play a vital role in due process.

Geography and Sun-hours

It’s a simple equation; more sun is equal to more energy!

Now, does that mean it might be hopeless to install a solar-powered system if you live in Canada? Not exactly, but if you are located towards the northern hemisphere, you might have to install more panels than your friend from Arizona or Texas.

No doubt solar panels are more budget-friendly in warm places.

Location and Angle

Another prime factor that determines the efficiency of your solar panel is location. A south-facing roof would be an ideal location for solar panels in the northern hemisphere. It is essential to ensure that no shadows are hovering over the solar panels.

Have you seen that solar panels are always positioned at a certain angle rather than lying flat across the roof? That’s because a perfect positioning allows absorption of maximum solar power.

Grid Lines

The most common error people make while choosing a solar panel is forgetting to check the grid lines. As insignificant as it may sound, the presence or absence of grid lines in your solar panel makes a huge difference in power production.

Conventional solar cells with grid lines absorb less sunlight than those without grid lines. Cells without gridlines are more potent and more effective as they are resistant to peeling and corrosion. Go with the ones without grid lines to maximize your power output.

Contamination of the Panels

It is not unnatural for our solar panels to collect dust and bird drops now and then. However, if left untreated, these contaminants can block the sunbeams from reaching the solar cells, ultimately decreasing their performance.

Hence, it is recommended to clean your solar panels with plain water once a month or more, depending upon the pollution in your area. This can be the main reason your solar panels are not performing as well as they should!

Other factors that affect the efficiency of your solar panels are wind pressure, system configuration (battery or non-battery), PV energy delivered, inverter efficiency, wiring, and power-point tracking losses.

Now we can estimate how much energy can be generated from solar panels and ways to maximize their performance. We might not be able to alter the climatic condition where we reside, but we can take the above-listed steps to make the most of our solar panels.

Lastly, is it worth investing in a solar-powered system for your house?

Definitely! Well, the go-green movement does sound very wallet-friendly to me. And, on a brighter note, you might as well bid farewell to your electricity bills!

(Last Updated on August 3, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Shradha Bhatta holds a Bachelors’s Degree in Social Work along with a Post-graduate degree in Project Management from Georgian College in Canada. Shradha enjoys writing on a variety of topics and takes pleasure in discovering new ideas. She likes traveling and spending time with nature. She is a very people-person who loves talking about climate change and alerting people to go green!