How Much Electricity Does a Solar Panel Produce

How Much Electricity Does a Solar Panel Produce?

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.

types of solar power systems

Types of Solar Power Systems

Malaysia is the perfect place for the generation of solar power. Malaysia’s location, which is near the equator, receives between 4,000 to 5,000 Wh per square meter per day.

With its unique advantage, the solar industry in Malaysia has grown in the last years, with the creation of solar farms and other solar power companies. Solar farms in Malaysia are considered one of the most resource-efficient in the world.

Some of these solar farms produce enough energy for 1,800 houses every day.

Are you aware that there are different kinds of solar power systems? In fact, the most common types of solar energy systems for homes are grid-connected, grid-connected with energy storage, off-grid, and DC systems.

The most common type among the four is the Grid-connected system, although grid connected with energy storage is becoming very popular despite the high cost of building it.

Let’s discuss more about the different types of solar power systems.

 

1. Grid-Connected System

This type of solar panel system is the most common one. It is connected to your local electric grid and your home. If your array generates more energy than what you use, it sends the excess back to the electric grid.

This way you are selling your extra solar power back to the utility company where it can be used by your neighbours or others.

This type of system requires a few panels, wiring boxes and disconnects and an inverter. Also, you have to make an interconnection agreement with the local utility company.

Advantages

  • Initial Cost: Purchasing a solar power system for your home can be very expensive. But grid-tied systems are much cheaper since they use less equipment than the other types of rooftop solar power.
  • Low Maintenance: The operating cost of grid-tied systems is very low. Solar panels have 20 to 25 years of warranty.
  • Reliability: Grid-tied system is simple and can have no downtime (without electricity).
  • Flexibility: You have the chance to design your system with an alternative energy source and a utility source. This way you can change the system to meet your needs in the future.

Disadvantages

  • The setback of this type of solar power system is that when the sun goes down, you are not able to use any of the energy that the solar panels produce. This can also happen if your electric grid is down; your solar panels will be shut off automatically, too, leaving you without energy.

 

2. Grid Connected Solar with Energy Storage

This type of solar power system is also known as hybrid solar. In the last couple of years, this energy system is becoming very popular, even though it’s more expensive.

It is similar to the grid-connected residential system, but comes with an energy storage system usually in the form of battery backup.

The hybrid system consists of a PV array, a charge controller, a battery bank and inverter and in some occasions a tertiary power source like a wind turbine or a gas generator.

Advantages

  • Energy Storage System: If your solar power system produces excess energy, it can be stored in the battery. So even if there is no sunlight, you can still power your home with solar power. If there is a power outage, your home will still have power for hours.
  • Save Money: The battery can provide additional opportunities to save money because your energy storage system can make sure you are using its power instead of the power of the grid.

Disadvantages

  • Cost: The system costs more because you need to change the batteries regularly. Although the cost of batteries has gone down in recent years, they still need to be replaced at some point.
  • High-Level Expertise: This solar power system is more complex so you may require a solar installer with a higher level of expertise to design and install. So make sure you find out from your solar power company if they install this type of system.

 

3. Off-Grid Residential Solar Panel System

The off-grid residential solar panel system is a lot like the hybrid system. It also uses solar panels and an energy storage system.

The off-grid system is installed in very rural, remote areas, where it is expensive to run a power line to a home.

The system is more expensive because it is bigger since it’s not connected to the electric grid. This requires more solar panels and batteries.

Advantages

  • Independence: One of the best things about this type of solar system is that you don’t depend on the utility company. You are not subject to the terms and policies of the utility company.
  • No Blackouts: Another benefit is that when everyone else has no electricity, your home will still have full power. This is very important with people with health conditions that require electronic devices or refrigerated medicines.
  • No Electricity Bills: Because you are producing your own electricity you will never again have to pay a bill to the utility company.

Disadvantages

  • Higher Initial Cost: If you don’t have a connection from the utility company, you will need a backup battery when there is no sun. Adding this source of backup will increase your solar costs.
  • Limited Solar Energy Storage: If the weather is cloudy for a few days and you don’t receive any sun, you may run out of stored electricity.
  • Energy Efficiency is a Must: You need to be very careful about your energy, or you may not have enough power for your home.

Should you go off-grid with solar power? Well, that depends on your main motivation.

If you want to produce your own energy, want an end to blackouts or eliminate your electricity bills, having this type of solar power may be right for you. It’s also highly suitable for those who don’t have any electricity connected to their home.

But if you just want to save some money, it can be more feasible to consider a grid-tied photovoltaic system instead.

4. DC Solar Systems

DC Solar System will power an RV or cabin, but this type of solar system doesn’t typically power a whole house. It differs from grid-connected solar power system because DC solar systems don’t use an inverter to convert DC electricity produced by the solar panels to the AC electricity used in most homes.

Instead, it provides electricity to DC appliances and/or a battery bank. This is the most basic type of solar power system, and it is intended to be used only when the sun shines. The system is very affordable and easy to install.

However, once the sun goes down, the power stops. It is perfect for remote locations that require low voltage. You can use this type of solar power system for certain things like:

  • Water Pumping applications
  • Venting Fans
  • Certain Electronics.

Advantages

  • High System Efficiency: Because there is only one conversion, DC Solar System is more efficient.
  • Simple Installation: A DC system can use only one inverter, which means simpler installation.
  • Easy to coordinate: Because DC system only has one inverter, it is easy to coordinate advanced functionalities that are required in some locations.
  • More energy to the battery: As the energy flow is not limited by the inverter capacity, the system is able to route more energy to the battery.

Disadvantages

  • High cost: You will need to spend a considerable amount to buy a DC solar system.
  • Solid sunlight required: DC system will only work when the sunshine is solid. You can use DC system when there is no sun, but the battery will need to be fully charged by the sun.

These are the four different types of solar panel systems that are available for homes.

To know which type to use for your house, review your requirements with a professional solar installer who will be more than happy to explain to you and offer you the available options.

 

solar panel with high rise building behind

How do solar panels work?

Solar energy is obtained by turning the sun’s energy into electricity. This electricity can be used for your home or business. The sun releases packets of energy called photons, which can be used in remote places and even in space.

Today solar energy can be used for multiple things like heat for making hot water, heating up building and cooking, generate electricity with solar cells. It also can be used for drying clothes, and by plants for photosynthesis.

Solar Panels rely on light from the sun, not heat. If the climate is extremely hot, solar panels are usually less efficient. They convert sunlight into DC electricity. When photons touch the silicon cell in the solar panel, the electrons are released creating energy.

Solar Panels are made up of interconnected cells that together form a circuit. They come in various sizes, styles and they have different purposes. A single solar module only produces a limited amount of power, and that’s the reason why most installations contain multiple modules.

Photovoltaic System

The typical photovoltaic system includes:

  • Array of photovoltaic modules
  • Inverter
  • Battery pack for storage
  • Interconnection wiring
  • Solar tracking mechanism (optional)

The most common use of solar panels is solar water heating systems. The price of this type of renewable energy in many countries is cheaper than the ordinary fossil fuel electricity.

In Malaysia, the government has several strategies to encourage the use and growth of renewable energy as sunshine is abundant all year round in the country. The demand for solar energy has risen more and more each year as consumers and businesses learn more about the benefits not only for the environment but also to the economy.

According to the Sustainable Energy Development Authority of Malaysia (SEDA) the market for solar energy has growth much more than any other renewable energy technology. Around 95% of the applications were for less than 72kWp, showing the acceptance of this type of energy from the general consumer.

Malaysia is the world’s third-largest producer of PV cells and modules putting the country in a good position to benefit from the growing solar power usage worldwide.
Shopping for solar used to be a long and complicated process, now it is easy and you can request free quotations. There are hundreds of solar companies in Malaysia, so find the one that is right for you.

As you can see there are many reasons why homeowners go solar, with the most common ones being:

  • Improving the environment
  • Cutting energy costs

But they are other benefits as well:

  • Renewable Energy Source: It can be used in all areas of the world and is available every day. Solar energy cannot run out, we will have access to this energy as long as we have the sun.
  • Diverse Applications: With solar power you can produce electricity or heat. So you can produce electricity in areas without access to energy grid.
  • Low Maintenance Cost: Solar energy systems don´t require a lot of maintenance, you just have to keep them clean. But you should only clean the panels a couple of times a year. You can hire cleaning companies or you can do it yourself. The majority of solar panel manufacturers will give you a 20 to 25 years warranty. The only part of the solar system that need to be changed every 5 to 10 years is the inverter. So after the initial cost, you can expect very little spending on maintenance.

No matter what your motivations are for going solar, just remember to do your research and contact at least two solar power companies to get the best deal. Remember solar power is expensive but your investment can return in seven to eight years, plus studies show that houses with solar panel systems have higher property values and sell more quickly.

As people learn and become more educated about the benefits of solar power, the demand for this type of energy will increase. Keep in mind that the sun is a near-infinite source of energy. So, use it to the fullest to save the environment and money at the same time!

solar panels

Solar Cells 101: Plan to install solar system but don’t know the types of solar cells?

Plan to install a solar system?

Unsure of which is the suitable for solar panel for you?

In general, there are three types of solar panels available on the market today: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film. In the later part of the article, we will further expound on each three.

As for solar energy, currently there are two kinds, one is solar thermal and the other solar photovoltaic. Solar thermal harnesses electricity through receiving heat for the sun, which as the latter directly converts the sunlight from the sun into electricity. Solar PV (photovoltaic) is currently experiencing an exponential growth and is becoming the fasting growing energy source in the world since 2016.

For the purpose of this article, Solar PV should take the center stage in order to shed some light to readers as what are basics to solar photovoltaic system as it is gaining popularity in the renewable energy world. (Hopefully, at the end of your read, we will be able to convince you why Solar PV is the best solution for your electricity concerns.)

 

The Three Types of Solar Cells

In a nutshell, multiple solar cells combined together to form solar panels. In another words, solar panels combined the cells and direct all of that to energy output, which as solar cells contain all the parts necessary to convert sunlight to electricity.

Just remember, when one mentioned polycrystalline solar panel, it would mean the panel is made out of many polycrystalline solar panels arranged together.

There are definitely more than the mentioned three types solar cells in the world today, but we will explore on the most common three as it is still the most popular three in the fast-growing world today, it is still relevant and it is the most common types available in Asia especially in Malaysia.

 

Mono Crystalline Solar Cell (Mono-SI)

Consisting of silicon crystal within the cell, high purity of silicon, and known for its uniform dark look with rounded edges, making it the most sensitive cell. With high efficiency rate that can reach up to 20% (for the newest ones), Monocrystalline solar cells can work under even dim light.

Mono crystalline solar panels do not take up a lot of space due to its high efficiency and it is known to have the longest lifespan, however, it is also the most expensive among all types of solar cells.

 

Polycrystalline Solar Cell (Poly-SI)

Made by melting raw silicon, poured into squared mold, Polycrystalline does not required the Czochralski process that monocrystalline solar cell goes through. Polycrystalline cells have the speckled blue look, some referred it as “sporty look”, this solar cell is capable of converting up to 15% of the incident light into electricity and offers a moderate sensitivity rate.

When compared to the monocrystalline solar cell, the polycrystalline solar power system is slightly less efficient. Also, polycrystalline cells have lower heat tolerance than mono cells. Under high temperature, polycrystalline solar panels may perform lower due to the heavy heat.

Polycrystalline cells have a shorter lifespan than monocrystalline cells.

Why then some still preferred Polycrystalline solar cells for their solar systems? Because they are so much more affordable and there are lesser silicon waste in Polycrystalline solar panels.

 

Thin Film (Amorphous) Solar Cell (TFSC)

The thin film solar cells are at times referred to as a solar film. They are manufactured using amorphous silicon, rather than silicone crystals. They feature a black color and are capable of converting 10% of incident light to electricity.

Even though they convert the least amount of incident light into electricity and they take up a lot of space compared to other solar cells, thin film solar cells are the most affordable ones available on the market and can take on a great amount of heat.

 

Malaysia Solar Trends

What we know for sure is that electricity cost is constantly on the rise and solar energy in Malaysia is also on the rise, making it timely to invest in solar system. Picking the right kind of solar system for your business or organization may not be easy, as it requires a great deal of assessment. From our experience, many clients in Malaysia tend to choose Monocrystalline cells or Polycrystalline solar cells for their solar systems after weight all the advantages and disadvantages.

Yes, we do provide consultation and we do provide Solar PV solutions to commercial and industrial properties. Feel free to contact us, Solarvest for more questions, advice and recommendation. Let us help you save your electricity cost and become a clean energy company or organization.

renewable energy

The Changing Tide of Solar Energy

Renewable energy became the buzzword of the 21st Century as more and more nations saw the urgency to combat pollution and global warming. Of all renewables, solar energy becomes one of the growing trends as tech company giants like Apple and Google, automobile companies like Tesla, Nissan and Bentley all heavily invested in solar energy.

With China being the largest installer of solar photovoltaics (PV), solar energy is seen to be better energy source as is both practical and more cost-effective than fossil fuels for both the commercial and residential. In Malaysia alone, more and more organizations are jumping on to the solar bandwagon, as the nation strives to become world’s second largest PV producer by 2020.

As electricity cost in the country continues to rise, many are turning to solar energy as an alternative and cost-effective energy. There are more uses for solar energy than one realized. For example, it can serve as a handy portable charger, allowing you to charge your devices anywhere as long as there is sunlight. With solar as an alternative energy, it will help the country save a lot of money that initially went to conventional energy consumption.

Below shows why everyone should consider turning to solar energy system as the alternative energy source.

Benefits of installing in Solar PV system

  1. It is inexhaustible. The sun is a free and inexhaustible source of energy. The sunlight cannot be monopolized by anyone nor does it run out of sun rays no matter how much solar PV takes in from it. Unlike fossil fuels where it is non-renewable and release greenhouse gas, solar PV convert sunlight into electricity with needing to burn anything. Therefore, it also makes solar energy a clean energy.
  2. It is economical. Solar energy helps reduce electricity bills. As was mentioned, the sun is free, there is no cost for excavation or transportation that often incurred when relying on fossil fuels. In Malaysia, companies could to sell their surplus energy to government-linked electricity company, TNB.
  3. It is sustainable. The lifespan for solar PV panels can last beyond 25 years and has low maintenance and operating cost because the system was built to sustain through years and decades.
  4. It paves the way for more technology advancement. Solar energy does not merely solve the climate change issue but it also opens a new avenue for the world to rethink power and electricity. Within Malaysia, the growing industry of Solar is constantly seeing improvement in their systems.

Around the world, we can see a constantly competition in improvement the solar technology, from self-cleaning panels, to the battle for higher efficiency, to recently, where triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) was added to solar technology, where it is now possible for a solar panel to generate electricity from raindrops (it is yet to be commercialized).

Simply put, the introduction of solar technology is also opening new and better inventions into a nation.

 

It is important to point out that solar powered electricity is not inferior to fossil fueled electricity, as solar power too can be used to generate a variety of appliances from households to industrials.

While it may seem to be a Herculean task to transformed a nation that is driven by fossil energy to solar powered one; and it may seem to be a massive financial commitment in the short term, but in the long term, the country as a whole will yield much more in return both financially, culturally and environmentally.

With solar energy trending and gaining popularity, we are seeing the skepticism of the public decreases as more are being educated on renewable energy and climate change. Rooftop panels, car park panels and solar forms are some of the Solar PV projects that are rapidly in Malaysia.

With TNB (Tenaga National Berhad) too has been heavily involved in some of the large-scale solar projects (LSS) in Malaysia, it is a clear indication that solar energy is here to stay and expand.

large scale solar panel

solar panel with high rise building behind

Solar Energy Can Improve Nation’s Well-Being

With the recent allocation of RM260.8 billion in the 2017 Budget for operating and development expenditure, the government has such implementation to protect the people’s wellbeing and the environment, which is in line with the Islamic point of view on the concept of self protection (hifdz al-nafs) and protection of environment (hifdz al-bi’ah).

This programme aims to enhance the resources of the lower-income group located in northern Peninsular Malaysia which allows them to reduce power usage and generate income by selling surplus electricity.

In line with the services offered by Solarvest, which aims to produce cleaner and affordable alternatives available, the company ensures customers the installation of solar PV system will save power consumption while enjoying effective energy conversions. Solarvest also conducts a unique mounting method that reduces roof leaks.

solar panel with sunset view

Solar Power is Now the Cheapest Form of Energy in Almost 60 Countries

Solar power has been verified as the cheapest source of new energy in lower-income countries, allowing corporations and governments to prioritize it compared to coal and gas for renewable sources.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in 2016, the average price of solar energy in almost 60 countries dropped to US$1.65 million per megawatt while placed first is the wind at US$1.66 million per megawatt. The cost of solar power depends on the availability of sunshine, energy contracts that are in place and government subsidies, since it is still not the cheapest source around the world.

The service has been expanding due to its dropping costs of equipment, growing investment and business corporations like Solarvest that provides top-notch installation proves on the solar PV system. Solarvest, the leader in the Malaysian solar power business offers full-service on small scale to large-scale projects.

willmill wind power

BMI Research: Malaysia in World’s Top Three for Renewable Energy Investment

Malaysia is among the top three global investment destinations for renewable energy, according to BMI Research. This can be attributed to several factors, including a favourable economic and politically stable business climate, in addition to a “buoyant macroeconomic outlook” as well as potential growth in the renewable energies industries, especially wind and solar power.

With that in mind, the country’s renewable energy sector has been growing rapidly, building a solid platform on which its renewable energy players can thrive.

Equipped with a passion for renewable energy sources, Solarvest is unwavering in its commitment to championing a unique business that is environmentally friendly. To this end, the company has the distinction of being among the pioneering batch of grid-tiered solar power installation experts, earning certifications from SEDA, ISPQ and GCPV.

 

solar panel at residential rooftop

Malaysia, Well Positioned to Attract More Solar Investments

Malaysia has progressed significantly in the solar PV industry over the past decade which has, in turn, resulted in the promising growth of new businesses and jobs. In 2016 alone, the country attracted seven solar manufacturing projects and 83 renewable energy projects in the solar industry worth RM1.77 billion and RM0.65 billion respectively.

To reinforce a comprehensive solar ecosystem, the solar PV industry requires adequate support by a strong supply chain. This is where hi-tech and established solar players can play an integral role.

As a leading name in the industry, Solarvest has the knowledge, experience and expertise to take on this challenge confidently.

solar panel at garden

Malaysia Poised to be Leader in Solar Industry

Despite solar PV being a relatively new source of growth in Malaysia, the country has been making strides in the solar industry in recent years. Among others, it is the world’s third largest manufacturer of PV cells and modules, has the largest thin film manufacturing site and is one of the top exporters of solar panels to the United States.

In a bid to continue on this upward trajectory toward transforming Malaysia into a “hub for solar manufacturing and services as well as an efficient energy generator in expanding economic growth, energy scrutiny and sustainable development”, the country is planning to roll out the Malaysian Solar PV Roadmap 2030 at the end of the year.

As a top high-income yielding solar PV system installation brand in the country specialising in large-scale solar farming in the country, Solarvest is dedicated to being at the forefront of the industry to help you get the most of the solar energy.