When thinking about installing solar panels in your home, it’s only natural that many questions and perhaps even doubts arise in your mind.
You might ask: Are solar panels reliable? Are they financially worth the investment? Will I be able to power my house using solar panels?
Or even, how much energy is generated by solar panels each day and is that energy enough for my needs?
How much energy is generated by solar panels?
First of all, you need to know that solar panel energy output is measured in kilowatts.
The average domestic solar panel can produce 265 watts of electricity, and in some cases even up to 350 watts.
The materials that your panel is made of can impact its efficiency.
The most efficient are monocrystalline panels that use higher-grade silicon, whereas polycrystalline panels are slightly less efficient but are cheaper.
In order to calculate how much energy is generated by solar panels each day, you have to multiply the panel’s wattage by the number of sunlight hours in the day.
If your home has a 280-watt solar panel, and you live in an area that receives 4 hours of sunlight a day, then you’d multiply 280 by 4. That’s 1,120 watt hours (Wh), or 1.1 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in one day.
But how do you make sense of this in relation to your home and its power needs?
How much power output do you need for your home?
The power you need for your home depends on how much electricity you use on average, and to what degree you wish to power your home using solar panels.
Some people opt to just use a small amount of solar power in order to do their bit for the planet, whereas others wish to reduce their reliance on the national grid as much as possible.
One thing is clear – if your household has a high energy usage, you’re going to need a higher quantity of solar panels installed.
If your electricity needs are not so great, or you just want to subsidise your home’s power usage, then opt for having a smaller quantity of solar panels installed.
To give you a rough idea of how much energy you need to power a home, let’s take as an example a family home containing four or five people. A 3kw or 4kw solar panel system will be enough to supply energy to that home, generating around 3,400kWh of electricity per annum.
That’s 97,000 hours of fridge, 5,000 hours of washing machine, 1,880 hours boiling the kettle and 1417 hours of oven usage.
To calculate how much energy is generated by solar panels in your solar panel system, you need to multiply the wattage of a solar panel by the total number of panels in the system. For example, a home with four 250 watt solar panels would have a 1kW solar system (250 multiplied by 4) – that’s enough for a home with a single occupant.
Are there any impediments to solar panel electricity output?
Solar panels have increased in efficiency in the last few years.
They can offer homeowners increasing independence from the grid at a time when energy bills are soaring and the clamour to protect the planet from carbon emissions is becoming ever more urgent.
That being said, for solar panels to work to their maximum potential, they have to be well looked after. How much energy is generated by solar panels depends on several factors. The conditions of their settings and placement has to be taken into account too.
If they are situated in poor conditions, they will not perform as well as they could. Your care for them is essential and key to how much energy is generated by solar panels each day.
Take into consideration:
- The angle of the roof space where they are placed. They should ideally face south at a 35 degree angle.
- Shade. Solar panels require direct sunlight. Any tree branches obscuring the light of the sun can significantly reduce the efficiency of the panel.
- Season of the year – in the summer months there is more sunlight, so logically, solar panels generate more solar power.
- Cleaning debris – sometimes dirt, debris and even tree branches can get trapped on the solar panels. It’s of utmost importance to take care of the panels and clean them regularly with a damp cloth and lukewarm water.
Measuring your solar panel output
If you want to stay on top of your solar power output, then it’s a great idea to monitor your progress with a meter. When your solar panels are installed they will come with a meter which is placed in an accessible location in your home.
The meter records the amount of power being produced by the solar system, and how much electricity is being exported to the grid.
Solar panel manufacturers are also developing online apps for smartphones which measure the electricity output of your panels.
Most residential solar panels produce between 250 and 400 watts per hour, and have a capacity between 1kw and 4kw.
A 4kw solar panel system in an average-sized house is capable of producing around 2, 850kWh of electricity in a year.
To get the most out of your panels, try to use your household appliances during the day if you can. That’s because your panels generate energy during the day and so will be most efficient during daylight hours.
Another tip is to make your home as energy efficient as possible. That’s to say, try to use energy saving light bulbs, don’t leave appliances on standby, and try to only use the washing machine on full load.
Storing solar energy
Another way to take advantage of solar panels is to use batteries to store any extra energy.
How much energy is generated by solar panels each day depends on the hours of sunlight, but that doesn’t mean that you have to live in a sunny climate to benefit from solar power.
You can harness and store solar energy in batteries, thereby saving energy for the hours of darkness and less sunny days.
By doing so, you can ensure that you always have solar energy on tap, allowing you to have a little more freedom from the grid, and saving you money.
What’s more, if you opt in to the net metering scheme, then you’ll receive financial recompense for any extra energy produced by your solar system.
Any unused electricity produced by your solar system will be taken into account by your energy provider and a discount will be given on your energy bill. Music to our ears in these days of increasing energy bills.
As you can see, how much energy is generated by solar panels each day depends on your situation and your household needs. Solar energy can be a great investment and gives plentiful returns, if used correctly.
To find out more about how solar energy could work for you, get in touch today.