Solar FAQ: How Much Energy Does A Solar Panel Produce?

You’ve probably heard the claims that having solar panels installed will slash your monthly energy bills in half. And that’s not a sales tactic; it’s true. By having solar panels you could cut your electricity bill by between 50 and 75 percent every year.

However, that doesn’t tell you about the nitty gritty stuff and I think this is what homeowners really want to know.

Knowing how much energy a solar panel produces can help you to make important decisions such as whether to invest in solar energy in the first place and how many panels you might need compared to your energy usage.

What’s The Average Power Output Of A Solar Panel?

Solar panel output is measured in watts and this tells you how much energy a panel can produce within a certain period of time.

Note that when you purchase solar panels, you’ll have options that are expressed in kW. Panel systems in the UK are normally between 1kW and 4kW. The higher this number, the more powerful the system is.

The more hours of sunlight a solar panel receives in a day, the more power it produces. But there are factors that will affect a panel’s ability to generate power and I’ll go into more detail on that later in this post.

For now, we should understand that most domestic-grade solar panels in the UK are capable of producing anywhere between 250W and 400W of power in an hour. Of course, you would need to multiply this by the number of panels in your system to determine the total amount of energy being produced.

As well as measuring solar panel power output in terms of time, a lot of homeowners find it useful to understand how much power is produced per square metre. This is useful when deciding how many panels to install, especially if your roof is smaller than average.

Again, there’s no cut-and-dry answer to exactly how much power a panel will produce in terms of its size as there are factors that will affect this.

However, generally speaking, it’s accepted that a 4kW system consisting of 1m² panels would generate up to 2.4kW and 3.2kW of power per day. This would be based on each 1m² panel producing between 150 and 200 watts per hour.

Do Solar Panels Produce Enough Energy To Fully Power A Home?

With more people keen to do their bit for the planet, solar power has become incredibly popular. However, I know that many homeowners are concerned that, while their energy bills will be lower, there’s no way solar panels could power the entire home.

But that is a common misconception. It is perfectly possible to power your home entirely using solar panels. Of course, you’ll likely need larger, more powerful panels and more of them if you’re going to harvest enough energy from the sun.

Solar Batteries

It’s all well and good installing a super powerful and efficient system that generates an astonishing amount of energy. But without solar batteries, it’s all in vain as you will only be able to use that energy in real time.

Once the sun sets, no power will be generated and you’ll be left in the cold and dark; literally.

So, what’s the solution?

Solar batteries.

Think of solar batteries as a way of storing energy until you need it. While your solar system will run perfectly during the day, it’ll also store any excess power in the solar batteries. Then, when night comes, the system will start drawing energy from the batteries so you won’t need to worry about the power going out.

What Factors Affect Solar Panel Energy Production?

I have talked about the average power you can expect from a solar panel in the UK but there are so many things that can affect a panel’s efficiency and ability to produce energy.

For example, when you speak to your installer for the first time, it’s imperative that you discuss your energy needs and current consumption. A good installer will use this information to help you select panels that are going to be in line with this.

What’s more, the type of cells used in a solar panel will play a role in how much energy it produces. The material from which the panel is made impacts its efficiency and this will certainly determine how much power it produces.

Solar panels are designed with a maximum capacity in mind which is measured in kW. The greater the number here, the more powerful the panel will be. Again, this is why it’s important to consider your energy requirements as buying panels that aren’t powerful enough is going to be a detriment.

You should also consider things like solar panel placement. It’s estimated that the UK only receives four sun hours per day, on average. This doesn’t give a lot of time for the panels to generate energy at maximum efficiency so choosing the best position and angle will boost their output. Normally, it is advised to put solar panels on a south-facing roof at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees for the best performance.

Finally, think about the weather. Solar panels work best in direct sunlight and at a temperature of around 25ºC. Overcast weather, cooler days and rain can all affect how well a solar panel performs. This might mean that there are certain days, where conditions are optimal, that your solar panels boast better performance.

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