Do you have solar panels and want to know how many kWh they produce a day? Perhaps you are debating adding solar panels to your house and want to know how many kWhs you can expect them to produce?
Or maybe you are curious and want to know more? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!
What's In This Article
For many of us, solar panels are still a new technology, meaning we don’t know too much about them. Sure they can turn sunlight into energy, but what do we really know about these panels we see on more and more houses every day.
How do they work? And how many kWh do they produce in a day?
These thoughts race around your head, interrupting your work and disrupting your sleep. Soon it is all you can think about, and you can’t seem to find the answers that you want anywhere.
And these answers are all that stand in your way of owning solar panels. Soon you reside yourself to a solar panel-free life.
Well, no more! Today we are here to give you the answers that you need. Keep reading to find out how solar panels work, how many kWh they produce in a day, and anything else you need to know. Prepare to leave here today as a solar panel expert!
What Is A KWh?
Before we dive in, let’s have a quick recap for those in the room that need it. A kWh or Kilowatt-hours is the unit used to measure electrical power usage. It is the kWh that you usually see on your electricity bill.
These days, all appliances and devices in your home will consume electricity measured in kilowatts so we may as well find out a little more about them!
Kilowatts are based on watts, another unit of measurement. Kilowatts are larger than watts and better represent the volume of electricity that almost all appliances use.
It’s like using a kilogram instead of a gram to measure larger items. To help you understand the difference. A kilowatt is a thousand times greater than a watt.
Kilowatt-hours show you the absolute power consumed over time. Over the course of an hour, one kilowatt of power is a kilowatt-hour of energy.
Confused? Don’t worry! We use this example to help us navigate these new terms. A 100 watt light bulb would take 10 hours to consume 1kwh, whereas an oven would consume that same 1 kWh in around 30 minutes. That doesn’t sound too complex, does it?
How Are Kilowatt-Hours Calculated?
Now that we have covered what Kilowatt-hours are, let’s look at how they are calculated. They are calculated by measuring the amount of energy consumed if the 1kW appliance was to run for one hour. So think of the unit of measurement as a benchmark.
The kilowatt-hour is the time period of a single kilowatt appliance running for one hour.
It’s worth thinking about kWh as we do light-years. The unit of measurement uses two set parameters to offer a measurement for other objects and helps you better understand the object or appliance.
Now that we have covered kilowatt-hours in general, let’s move on and take a look at our focus today, solar panels!
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Before we look at how many kWh a solar panel produces a day, let’s first take a look at how they work. Solar panels are attached usually to the roof of a house and work to generate energy that can be used in your home. This is done by the panels absorbing sunlight using photovoltaic (PV) cells.
It’s worth thinking of these PV cells like a sandwich that features two slices of semiconducting material like silicon. When the light interacts with a silicon cell, it prompts electrons to be set in motion. These initiate a flow of electric current known as the photovoltaic effect.
You can also think of it in these three simple steps:
- Solar cells absorb sunlight energy.
- Electrons flow and generate an electrical current.
- Wiring captures the current and combines it with power from the other solar cells.
The panels will then convert this sunlight into direct current, or DC energy, which is fed to your house through an inverter.
The inverter will then convert your DC energy into alternating current (AC) energy. It is this AC energy that will flow into your home’s electrical panel and power your appliances with electricity.
If there is any leftover electricity that you haven’t used, it will be sent to the electric grid. From there, it can be distributed to other appliances and homes across your town or city. Likewise, if you need more electricity than your solar panel can provide you with, this will be fed to your house from the electric grid.
Now that can sound like a science lesson, but it’s worth knowing how they work. After all, they are a part of your home, aren’t they? While solar panels are typically placed on a house’s roof, they can also be erected in the ground.
Think of those fields we now see, full of solar panels working hard to harness renewable energy. These large-scale panels will work just as your home ones will, but their electricity will usually go directly to large businesses or the electricity grid.
How Many KWh Does A Solar Panel Produce In A Day?
Now that we have covered all the basics, let’s get into why you came here today! Generally speaking, a solar panel will produce 1-1.5kWh a day. It is worth noting that this can vary depending on a few factors.
You will want to consider your panel’s efficiency, the angle of your roof, temperature sensitivity, and any shading that could impact your panel’s ability to draw in sunlight. You will also want to consider how much sunlight every day your solar panel gets.
If you live in a state that has few sunlight hours, then the amount of kWh your panel produces will be significantly less than those that live in sunnier states.
The time of year will also influence this, and you are more likely to see higher kWh production in the warmer summer months than in the winter. The number we give of 1 – 1.5kWh a day should be taken as an average and rough guide rather than a fact.
After all, with each roof positioned slightly differently, and solar panels varying from brand to brand, it’s hard to give one answer that will apply to everyone.
How Can I Calculate The KWh My Solar Panels Will Produce?
For those that want a more personalized answer, there is an easy way to work out how many kWh your solar panel can produce in one day! All you need to know is how many hours of direct sunlight your solar panels get and the wattage of your solar panel.
If you don’t know this information, then it’s worth looking at how much sunlight on average your state or city gets a day. If your solar panel is in a good location on your roof where it can make the most of direct sunlight, then you can use that number for the calculation.
Alternatively, you can observe your solar panel throughout the day, or at least note when direct sunlight hits your house and when it leaves again. Keep a note of the time that your solar panel will have absorbed the direct sunlight and use it for your equation.
You should be able to find out the wattage of your solar panel on any information or user manuals you received when the panels were installed. If not, you can contact the manufacturer, or who installed the panels and find out from them.
Typically solar panels come in ratings from 250W to 400W. The wattage should be clearly stated and will allow you to find out exactly how much energy your solar panels are producing.
Once you have this information you can do the following calculation, changing our numbers for your own.
5 hours of direct sunlight x 290 watts from your solar panel = 1,450W, or 1.5 kWh per day.
This calculation tells you how much kWh each solar panel will produce every day. If you have more than one solar panel on your roof, you can multiply your answer by the number of solar panels that you have to find out how much power your whole roof is generating!
Why not do the math now and see how much power your roof is making? When we look at it across the year, you can expect 500 to 550 kWh from each panel on your roof. If you have six solar panels attached to your roof, that’s a lot of power you are harnessing every year!
To understand how that better relates to you and your energy usage, why not find an annual bill that shows your energy usage? It is interesting to see what you are using and how it compares to what you are generating!
What Is The Best Way To Get The Most Out Of My Solar Panel?
If your solar panel is getting lower numbers than you expected, there are ways that you can boost its production. After all, what is the point of paying for the panels to be installed if you aren’t going to reap the benefits? So let’s look at some ways you can boost the production of your solar panel!
The first is to consider the angle of your solar panel. Now this one can be tricky to adjust, but a professional can always come and do this for you!
Or if you are having solar panels fitted, you can ask the professional fitting them to ensure that they are fitted in the best way.
Ideally, you want the panels to face south with a tilt angle of 30 to 45 degrees. This will help them to absorb as much light as possible while the sun moves throughout the day. It isn’t always possible to have them positioned like this, but where you can, try and get them this way!
Another way is to remove any shade that could hinder their ability to absorb the sunlight. This might be to cut back any trees near your roof, or if your solar panels are on the floor to clear any debris away from them. Doing so can help maximize their production as they will absorb more sunlight.
If you are looking to replace your solar panels or add some to your home, be sure to look at their efficiency. You will want to consider whether you want to splash the cash for more efficient solar panels or not.
Yes, they do cost more, but they also help to generate more electricity that could mean you no longer rely on energy from the grid!
Alternatively, you could opt for a smaller, cheaper system. It might not be as efficient, but it can allow you to generate your own electricity and still draw some from the grid. It is worth looking into the cost of these in more detail to find out which would be more beneficial to you.
In some cases, if you don’t use much electricity, it can be cheaper in the long term to install a smaller system and still draw power from the grid.
Be sure to raise any questions you might have about this to the person fitting your solar panels or selling them to you.
They can offer you tailored advice that will help you make the right decision for you. Remember, everyone’s situation and position in their house are different. You will want to make the right decision for you, and it might not be the decision everyone else is making.
It is also worth before installing solar panels on your roof to observe how much direct sunlight your house actually gets.
It might be that your roof doesn’t see much sunlight, which would make it counterproductive to splash out on high-end solar panels that aren’t going to get much sun. instead, you could opt for the cheaper option that will save you some money and still allow you to generate your own energy.
And just like that, we have come to the end of our solar panel journey today. These wonderful sources of renewable energy can produce roughly 1.5kWh a day.
This number might vary depending on the size of the solar panel and the amount of sunlight your roof gets, and the other factors discussed today.
Don’t forget to check the wattage of your solar panels and to use the calculation we gave you earlier to find out just how much power your solar panels could be generating!
No matter the efficiency of your solar panels, it’s better to have some on your roof, harnessing a renewable source of energy, than to have none at all!