The amount of electricity a solar panel produces depends on three things:
- Size of the panel
- The efficiency of the solar cells inside
- Amount of Sunlight the panel gets
What is a Solar Panel?
A solar panel is a photovoltaic panel designed to absorb the sun ray to produce electricity or heating. The typical solar panel is about five and a half feet tall and 3 feet wide.
Each solar panel has approximately sixty little squares. These squares are individual solar cells, which are linked together by wires.
Inside each individual solar cell is where the electricity is made; electricity is then carried by the wires to a junction box where the panel is hooked into a larger array. The amount of power a solar panel makes is based on the wattage of the solar panel.
The residential solar panels available in 2018 contain 60 solar cells joined together to produce around 260-300 watts, or they could have 72 cells joined together to produce between 360-400 watts.
The higher the wattage of a solar panel the more electricity it produces because it has access to more solar irradiation.
The amount of electricity solar panels produce also depends on average sunlight over the course of a year. To know this you need to find your place on the globe to see if your area is more cloudy, and therefore less available energy from the sun to convert into electricity.
Malaysia, for example, is a great place to produce solar energy. That is why the solar industry in Malaysia is expanding with several solar power companies and solar farms.
In Malaysia by February 29, 2018 the solar power capacity was at 140MW out of a total of 311.6MW, and the number of applications for solar as a source of power was 348 out of 377 applications under the Fit according to SEDA. This could give you an idea of how big the industry is in Malaysia.
How many solar panels are needed to power an average house?
The average house uses about 900 kWh per month. This is a lot and you can really save a big amount of money by using solar power.
So how do you calculate how many solar panels you need? Let’s take 900 kWh and divide by the amount of kWH one solar panel produces, that is around 30 kWh monthly. You will need 30 panels to produce 250 watts per panel to produce 7,500 kW.
Of course, before you install your solar panels, it’s recommended to consult a solar company. The expert will tell you how your solar power system should be depending on how much devices you use and your lifestyle, for example:
- Light Bulb uses 60 watts
- Laptops use 45 watts
- Desktops between 150-300 watts
- Window air conditioning range between 500 and 1500 watts
- Central air conditioning can use 3500 watts.
All those devices add up with variations. Most of your electricity usage probably happens at night, but if you work at home this could change. Your solar installer will talk to you about all of the options.
How to Store Energy
Solar panels only generate power as the sun shines. This mean you will need a way to store the energy. One solution is to use a battery, but the majority of people prefer to stay connected to the grid. This option is easier and cheaper.
If your solar panels are producing more power than you are using, the excess power will go back into the grid. You can pull energy from the grid at night, or anytime you need extra power.
If you use a grid-connected system, you don’t have to worry if you need more power than your solar system provides. Make sure you talk to your solar installer about all the options, and which one is best for you and your home.