Does Solar Power Generate as Much Energy as Electricity?
Solar power energy systems may feel complex but the math is very simple. A typical single solar panel generates about 2 kilowatt-hours of energy per day — an average house in the US uses about 30 kilowatt-hours of energy per day. So, all you need to do is set up a solar power system of around 15 panels to meet the daily requirement. There are, however, some more details that you may want to consider before moving forward.
How Does a Solar Panel Generate Electricity?
Each solar panel has a specific wattage, also known as the power rating of the panel. The figure represents the amount of energy that the panel can generate under standard testing conditions. Most panels today have a power rating of around 300 to 370 watts — the higher the amount, the more energy it can produce.
A typical solar panel has about 60 to 72 cells — the ones with 72 cells are usually larger in size so they’re barely used. When solar radiation hits these cells, it produces electricity. While most locations on the earth receive at least some sunlight, it’s important to understand that solar panels convert solar radiation into energy (also known as electromagnetic radiation), and not sunlight itself. The process is better known as PV (photovoltaics) and is widely utilized in commercial and home use solar panels.
Is the Energy Produced Through Solar Power Enough?
A solar panel produces electricity which is then either stored in a battery with the help of an inverter or is directly used to power appliances. In theory, the energy produced through solar power is enough but there certainly are variables at play that may affect the daily output.
Most people install solar power systems and use the energy produced to cut the costs of their electricity bills. Why is that? Because there are cloudy days when there’s little-to-no solar radiation, which is when conventionally produced electricity is used. This is exactly why the solar panels are paired with an inverter — so the energy can be stored in the battery and utilized in times of need.
In an ideal scenario where there’s ample sunlight and efficient, good-quality solar panels, the amount of energy produced would be more than enough to make up for everyday needs, given that your system has enough panels to meet your daily power requirement.
High-efficiency Panels vs. High Wattage for More Energy Output
Higher-wattage solar panels have the highest energy output. There’s also a panel’s efficiency rating that you may consider. But do know this — a solar panel with a higher wattage is better than a panel with lower wattage and higher efficiency rating. Confused? Well, consider a 370 watts solar panel with 17% efficiency. Now consider another panel with a 360 watts power rating and 19% efficiency. The former is clearly the better option because even if the energy efficiency of the latter one is higher, it’ll still produce 360 watts at best.
Summing Up: Factors Affecting Solar Panel’s Energy Output
All you need to do is calculate your energy needs and opt for a solar power system with similar output for the best results. Before you go ahead, don’t forget to consider these elements at the time of your purchase:
- The power rating of the panel
- Peak sun hours in your area – (power rating x peak sun hours = daily output)
- Number of cells (panel characteristics)