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What Is The Energy Output Of Solar Panels?

Ean GoodguySeptember 7, 201812910

What Is The Energy Output Of Solar Panels?

When you are thinking about purchasing a product, it's a good idea to get to know the product at the highest level possible.  Let's help you know about the factors that deal with efficiency.  The amount of power a solar panel produces depends on three essential factors: the size of the panel, the ability of the solar cells inside, and the amount of sunlight the panel gets.

Let's break down what you can anticipate from a typical solar panel, and how that power output corresponds to the power your requirement for the gadgets and appliances you use inside your house.

How Big Are They?

When HahaSmart says “solar panel,” we’re talking about is a common silicon photovoltaic panel for residential use. These days, most solar panels are about 5 and a half feet tall and a little larger than 3 feet wide:

If you look tightly at the solar panel in the image above, you’ll notice 60 little squares. These squares are individual solar “cells,” which are connected collectively by wires. The cells are where electricity is made, and the cables carry the power to a junction box where the panel is hooked into a more comprehensive array.

Size Matters

The more solar cells working in tandem, the more energy they’ll build. That’s why the size of the panel matters if you’re trying to determine how much power a panel makes. Solar panels have been around this measurement for decades, but new panels make more electricity than in the past. That’s because panel generators have found ways to improve cell efficiency over time.

Comparing solar panel capability from 1954 to 2018

Efficient Panels

Solar efficiency corresponds to the quantity of available energy from the sun that gets converted into electricity. Back in the 1950s, the first solar cells were proficient of taking 6% of the power from the sun and turning it into electricity. If they were configured to be the same array of 60 cells that would have created a current of about 20 watts electricity, about a third of what would be required to light up a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

Solar cells could convert 15% of the power hitting them from the sun into power. As of 2018, the efficiency of the most advanced solar cells is closer to 23%, while average solar cells for domestic use are around 18.7% efficient. If you combine the efficiency of the cells with the capacity of the panel, you get a number called the “power rating.” In the solar trade, we say “that panel is rated to produce X watts.”

Power Ratings

As of 2018, a standard solar panel generates around 320 watts of power, but panels come in many different wattage ratings and finding one that delivers precisely 320 watts is rare. The top 10 residential solar panels for 2018 includes panels rated to produce anywhere from 290 watts to 360 watts. More efficient panels are a little more costly and are usually only needed if you have limited space on your roof. Your solar installer will work with you to figure out how many panels you need to provide enough energy for you to use. It usually matters less how much each panel can provide than how well the whole array performs.

Solar Calculation

Your solar panels will have an amount listed on the back that indicates how much energy they will pump out during ideal conditions. This is called the Standard Test Condition rating (STC for short).

When attempting to determine an STC rating, solar labs test the panels beneath ideal conditions called “peak sun,” or 1000 watts of sunlight per square meter of surface. That’s approximately equal to the energy of the sun at noon, on a sunny day, at the equator.

Here at HahaSmart, we know a lot about solar panels.  You now know a lot as well.  Let's join forces and make some deals happen!

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