The Power Output of Solar Panels

Jessica PirroAugust 16, 20192260

Solar power output or wattage is an important consideration when comparing your different options when it comes to solar panels. When you hear solar installers say, “this is a 350 watt solar panel”, or if you are reading quotes from solar installers, you could see numbers like 300W or 325W next to the name of the solar panels, they are in reference to a solar panel’s wattage, capacity, and the solar power output.

How Much Solar Energy Do Solar Panels Produce?

If you are getting 5 hours of direct sunlight per day in a state like California you can calculate the output of your solar panels this way: 5 hours x 290 watts (a premium solar panels output) = 1,450 watts-hour, or 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh). Therefore, the output for all of the solar panels that are in your solar-powered system array would produce around 500-550 kWh of solar energy per year.

All solar panels are rated by the amount the DC (direct current) solar power that they are producing under standard test conditions. The output of solar panels is expressed in units of watts (W) and represents the solar panels theoretical solar power production under ideal sunlight and temperature conditions. Most solar panels for homes that are on the market today have solar power output ratings that range from 250 to 400 watts. With higher solar power ratings generally considered preferable to lower solar power ratings. The cost of solar panels is going to play a significant part in the cost of your solar-powered system.

What Can You Power With a Single Solar Panel?

In the previous example, the solar panel is going to be producing 1.5 kWh per day, which is going to end up being about 4.5 kWh per month. This is enough solar energy to provide power for small appliances without too many issues, but if you want to cover all of the energy that is used by your home's climate control systems or large cooking appliances, you are going to need more solar panels.

Calculating Solar Panels Wattage

Solar Power output is a very important metric for your home or commercial solar-powered systems. When you purchase or install solar-powered systems, the price that you pay is typically based on the total power output of the solar panels that are in the solar-powered system.

The solar panels wattage represents the solar panels theoretical solar power production under ideal sunlight and temperature conditions. The wattage is calculated by multiplying volts x amps where volts represents the amount of force of the electricity and amperes (amps) refers to the aggregate amount of energy that is used. The financial savings that you derive from the solar-powered system is a result of the electric energy that it generates over time (expressed in kilowatt-hours).

Size V. Amount

The solar power output alone is not a complete indicator of the quality of the solar panels or their performance characteristics. Some solar panes have high solar power output rating due to their large physical size rather than the efficiency of a solar panel or them being more technologically advanced.

If two different solar panels both have 15 percent of the efficiency of a solar panel ratings, but one has a solar power output rating of 250 watts and the other is rated at 300 watts, it means that the 300-watt solar panel is about 20 percent physically larger than the 250-watt solar panel. Solar energy industry experts view the efficiency of a solar panel as being more of an indication of the performance strength of solar panels than the solar power capacity.

A solar-powered system that has a rated capacity of 5 kWh (kilowatts) could either be made up of either 20 250-Watt solar panels or 16 300-watt solar panels. Both solar-powered systems are going to generate the same amount of solar power in the same geographical location. A 5 kW solar-powered system might produce 6,000 kWh of solar electricity every in the Boston, the same solar-powered system will produce 8,000 kWh every year in Los Angeles because of the amount of the sun each location gets each year.

The solar electricity that is generated by the solar-powered system is governed by its rated solar power output, but it also dependent on other factors such as the efficiency of a solar panel and the temperature sensitivity, as well as the degree of the shading that the solar-powered system experiences and the tilt and the angle of roof where the solar-powered system that holds the solar-powered system. It makes sense to install a solar-powered system with just as much solar power output as you can afford. That will ensure that you will maximize your savings and speed up the payback period of the solar-powered system.

How Many Watts of Solar Energy Do Solar Panels Produce?

The table listed below will show different views of the solar power output from the leading solar companies that supply solar panels to the United States market. The solar companies will often produce more than one line of solar panels, the solar power output of the most solar companies will have a significant range.

Solar Manufacturer












Canadian Solar




Centrol Solar




Hanwha Q Cells












REC Solar












Trina Solar Energy




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