How much energy do solar panels actually generate?
If you’re considering converting to solar energy, one of the first questions you’ll have is “How much energy do solar panels produce?” Making the decision to go solar is a big step for most, so you should know exactly what you’re getting out of it. Energy production is an important factor when weighing which type of solar system will work best for your individual needs.
Because renewable energy sources are growing increasingly popular and will soon be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels, many home and business owners are making the switch to solar-powered systems to both save on energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.
How do solar panels produce energy?
Before you can understand how much energy a solar panel can make, it helps to know how they make it.
To make this as simple as possible: solar panels allow particles of light called photons to collide with electrons and knock them free of atoms. When this occurs, electricity is generated, harnessed, and stored as energy in photovoltaic cells. Many photovoltaic cells, or cells that are able to convert sunlight into electricity, make up one solar panel.
How is that energy measured?
Solar panel potential energy outputs are measured in wattage, or the theoretical output one panel could produce under ideal weather, sunlight, and temperature conditions. You will probably hear solar installers referring to the wattage of certain panels when determining what’s best for your home or business’ solar needs.
The energy production per panel type varies on their capacity. Energy Sage gives this example: a 250-watt panel that receives 4 hours of direct sunlight per day can produce around 1,000 watts (or 1 kilowatt) of electricity. You can reach this conclusion by the equation of Watts x Hours in the sun, so in this particular example, 250 x 4 gives you 1,000. If you’re producing 1 kW per day, that’s about enough to power small appliances, but won’t be able to power your entire home, so you’ll want to install more than one panel depending on the size and energy needs of your house.
Do certain solar panels produce more energy than others?
When looking to install solar panels on your home, you’ll obviously want a system that best fits your needs. Not all solar panels produce the same amount of energy, so assessing how much electricity you use and the cost it takes to power your home are important factors when weighing your options.
Short answer: yes, some solar panels produce more energy than others. But that doesn’t mean the smaller systems aren’t effective enough to get the right job done!
For example, 250-watt panels don’t produce as many watts as 400-watt panels because they are physically smaller. However, you may have limited roof space that requires you to go for the more compact panel, or don’t use that much energy and don’t need your solar panels to produce as much. Larger commercial projects that have adequate roof space and significantly more energy needs would most likely opt for a 400-watt panel system. It all truly depends on what you’re looking to power — residential homes will require much less electricity than office buildings, warehouses, etc.
How to Choose the Solar Panels that are Right for You
With so many factors to consider about how much solar panels produce, it can be difficult for people to feel like they’re making the right choice. We have some tips for you to aid you in the process!
Tip #1: Do plenty of research
It can be tempting to go with the first solar company that you find, but doing thorough research can ensure that you save money. Using tools like EnergySage’s Market Start allows you to input your address and other information about your property that will help you compare what local solar installers are charging for similar projects.
Tip #2: Compare how much the solar panels produce
Bigger companies often also have fewer equipment options on top of higher prices, so it’s important to make sure you’re comparing solar panels for their cost as well as their potential energy production. You want to pick a solar system that can best suit your home’s needs and don’t want to be swindled into buying something that won’t work for you. Research the energy production of certain panels and compare those panels’ prices with different local installers.
Tip #3: Find a great installer!
The solar industry is saturated with installers looking to join the increasingly popular renewable energy movement. The right company will be reliable, informative, and helpful from the first consultation until long after the actual install. Choosing someone you can trust to be transparent and efficient during the process will make it easier on you as the home or business owner!
Go Solar with Renu Energy Solutions
Founded in 2010, Renu is proud to have spent the last decade installing over 3,000 residential and commercial solar systems to home and business owners in the Carolinas. If you’re considering converting to renewable energy and want to learn more about solar, contact us today for more information and a free consultation. We’d be happy to guide you through your solar journey from start to finish and look forward to hearing from you soon!