How much electricity does a solar panel produce?

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How much electricity does a solar panel produce?

The amount of electricity a solar panel produces depends on three main things: the size of the panel, the efficiency of the solar cells inside, and the amount of sunlight the panel gets.

How big are solar panels?

When we say “solar panel,” what we’re talking about is a typical silicon photovoltaic panel. These days, most solar panels are about 5 and a half feet tall and a little more than 3 feet wide:

Why does solar panel size matter?How much electricity does a solar panel produce?

When we say “solar panel,” what we’re talking about is a typical silicon photovoltaic panel. These days, most solar panels are about 5 and a half feet tall and a little more than 3 feet wide:

How efficient are solar panels?How much electricity does a solar panel produce?

Solar efficiency relates to the amount of available energy from the sun that gets converted into electricity.

If they were configured to be the same array of 60 cells you see in the image above, that would have created a current of about 20 watts electricity, about a third of what would be needed to light up a 60 watt incandescent bulb.

When we originally wrote this page in 2012, solar cells could convert 15% of the energy hitting them from the sun into power. As of 2017, solar cell efficiency is closer to 20%.

If you combine the efficiency of the cells with the size of the panel, you get a number called the “power rating.” In the solar industry, we say “that panel is rated to produce X watts.”

What’s the power rating for an average solar panel?

As of 2017, a typical solar panel produces around 265 watts of power. That can vary based the size and efficiency of the solar panel you choose; you’ll see panels that produce 210, 280, even 320 watts.

More efficient panels are a little more expensive, 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 produce enough energy for you to use.

It generally matters less how much each panel can produce than how well the whole array performs.

How is a solar panel’s rating calculated?

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

Here’s what a label looks like on the back of the solar panel:How much electricity does a solar panel produce?

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

The amount of electricity a solar panel produces depends on three main things: the size of the panel, the efficiency of the solar cells inside, and the amount of sunlight the panel gets. We’ll break down what you can expect from a typical solar panel, and how that power […]

 

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