What Are Peak Sun Hours
Note: Use our peak sun hours calculator to find out how many peak sun hours your location gets.
Peak sun hours are a way to measure how much sunlight you can expect to receive at a specific location.
A peak sun hour is defined as one hour in which the intensity of sunlight averages 1,000 watts per square meter.
So we can write it as:
1 peak sun hour = 1,000 W/m2 of sunlight per hour.
Because 1,000 watts is equal to 1 kilowatt, we can also write it as:
1 peak sun hour = 1 kW/m2 of sunlight per hour.
Peak hours are NOT the hours from sunrise to sunset. They are also NOT the number of hours the sun shines in a day. They are instead a measure of the total amount of sunlight a location gets in a day.
If one day at 9am the sun shines with an average intensity of 400 W/m2, then that would be equal to 0.4 peak sun hours. Then if at 1pm that same day the sun shines with an average intensity of 1,050 W/m2, that would be equal to 1.05 peak sun hours.
For example, lets say you live in Nevada, and on a clear spring day the sun shines with the following intensities by hour:
To measure how much sun you got that day, youd sum up the intensity of sunlight for each hour in peak sun hours.
In this case, you would have received 6.8 peak sun hours that day.
Solar Power Output: How Much Energy Does A Solar Panel Produce
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Do you know how much energy a solar panel produce? Here we will explore the production of solar power and the energy a can produce.
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Is My Location Good For Solar
The Southwestern region of the United States is the best place in the country for solar panels, but that doesnt mean you shouldnt consider it if you live in the North. With the advancements in solar panel efficiency that have been made over the past decade, solar has become a great option even for areas that receive less solar hours on average. When comparing homes in Minnesota and California that have similar energy usage, the homes in Minnesota on average only need five or six more panels.
How Much Area On Your Roof Is Required For Installing A Solar Panel
Other than checking the weight of your solar panels before installing them on your roof, you may also want to check the exact area required on your roof for all the installation brackets and connections needed by your solar panels. Thankfully, you can easily get an idea of the area needed on your roof for installing a complete solar panel system. This can be done by using the following formula:
Formula: Total roof area needed = Area of each Solar Panel x Total Number of Solar Panels Required
For example, if you are installing a 6 kW solar panel system that has 20 solar panels of 300 watts each, where each solar panel is 20 square feet in size, then you will need the following area on your roof:
Area needed on the roof for a 6 kW solar panel system = 20 solar panels x 20 square feet = 400 square feet total area
How Much Solar Power Will You Need
To determine your homes average energy requirements, look at past utility bills. You can calculate how many solar panels you need by multiplying your households hourly energy requirement by the peak sunlight hours for your area and dividing that by a panels wattage. Use a low-wattage and high-wattage example to establish a range . Note that the size of your roof and how much sunlight your roof gets are factors as well.
If you work with an experienced solar installer, they will handle all these calculations for you. If youre searching for a calculator to figure out how many solar panels do I need?, look no further. You can use SunPower Design Studio to estimate your own system size, monthly savings, and the actual appearance of a solar array on your own roof. This interactive tool provides a solar estimate in just a few seconds and can be done on your own or on a call with a SunPower 786-7693.
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Are Solar Panels A Standard Size
Mostly yes. Despite manufacturers using different measurements for their brands, the length and width of solar panels only differ slightly from the standard 1.7m by 1.0m size.
Ben McInerney is a renewable energy enthusiast with the goal of helping more Australians understand solar systems to make the best choice before they purchase. Having an accredited solar installer in the family helps give Ben access to the correct information, which allows him to break it down and make it easily understandable to the average homeowner.
Average Annual Yield From Solar Panels
As you can see in the table above, the larger your solar PV system, the greater its annual energy output . A 1kWp system will produce about 850 kilowatt hours of electricity, while a 4kWp system will churn out a whopping 3,800kWh.
But what actually is a kilowatt hour? Quite simply, its the quantity of energy that a 1,000-watt appliance would use if it was switched on for one hour. For example, if you turned on a 50-watt light bulb, it would take 20 hours for it to use 1kWh of electricity. In contrast, a 2,000-watt oven would use 1kWh of electricity in just 30 minutes.
Youll notice in your energy bills that your monthly electricity usage is measured in kWh, so it makes sense to quantify a solar panels electricity output in the same way.
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Standard Solar Panel Dimensions
Standard solar panels come in two common configurations: 60-cell and 72-cell.
An individual solar cell is a 6 x 6 square. 60-cell panels are laid out in a 6×10 grid. 72-cell panels are laid out in a 6×12 grid, making them about a foot taller.
- 60-cell panels: 39 x 66
- 72-cell panels: 39 x 77
These are the standard solar panel sizes for most residential and commercial installations, give or take an inch on either side.
There are other panel size configurations on the market, but they are much less common..
However, the standard 60-cell and 72-cell panel sizes are by far the most common in the industry.
Let Vivint Solar Size Your Solar Energy System For You
So, how big is a solar panel? Whatever size will best fit your home, really. From the design to the installation, from the financing to the payment plans, our experts will be there to figure out what the best solar solution is for your home or business, so you dont have to worry about what size of solar panel you need.
Consider the amount of energy your household uses and let us help you figure out how much you could save installing new solar panels on your home. Give Vivint Solar a call to get a free, customized quote today!
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How Big Will My Solar Panel System Need To Be
Calculating the size of a residential solar array involves more than just the physical measurements of the panels. The more important calculation involves optimizing the system for your home energy needs and consumption.
According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, American households consume 10,649 kWh on average per year. This number varies by household, geographical location, and other factors, but the average is a helpful starting point for some basic math.
Letâs say your home in Denver uses 10,649 kWh of electricity every year. High-performance solar panels from LG generate an average of 385 watts of energy per hour. According to ClimaTemps.com, Denver gets an average of 3,115 hours of sunlight annually.
3,115 hours of sunlight x 385W = 1,199 kWh per year
If conditions are optimal , you would need nine solar panels on the roof of your home to generate the energy your household needs for the year. Nine 60-cell solar panels take up 540 square feet. On an average home, this system would cover about 30 percent of the roof.
However, these calculations are based on a number of ideal conditions. For example, the math here assumes 100 percent efficiency in solar panel output. In reality, todayâs high-performance solar panels have efficiencies between 20 percent and 22 percent. Maximizing sun exposure is crucial for getting the most output from solar panels, but some amount of shading is inevitable.
Calculate A Solar Energy System Requirement
You need to match the kilowatt hours of your solar PV system to the kilowatt hours that your appliances will use. To approximately estimate the energy requirement for a period of time, we need to multiply the hourly power consumption by the number of hours of intended use. An example for the same would be a 40W appliance in domestic use that will be used for 2 hours per day. The daily energy consumption for it would be 40*2 = 80 Wh.
Repeat that exercise for every appliance individually to calculate the daily energy requirement for your solar energy system. Add in any appliance that will use power while connected to the solar panel. The result will give you an indicative total energy requirement for the solar panel to produce for the day. You can work out the number of panels needed a few ways.
You calculate how many solar panels you may need by dividing the maximum hourly solar energy system output by the wattage output of one single panel. The number of solar panels of the size used in the calculation will theoretically meet that energy demand during a sunny day.
Another way is to multiply the households hourly energy requirement by the peak sunlight hours for the area. Then divide that answer by the wattage of the solar panel intended to be used.
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What If Your Roof Isnt Ready For Solar Panels
Just because a roof can support a photovoltaic system doesnt mean rooftop placement is the best option for you. Some roofs dont have enough space for a PV array, for example, while others have shading issues that may reduce solar output.
In these cases, your professional photovoltaic contractor can find another mounting solution. For example, ground-mounted PV systems work well for many homeowners and businesses with problematic roofs.
The professionals at Intermountain Wind & Solar offer free consultations to homeowners and businesses throughout Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada. To explore your options for installing solar panels, contact us today.
How To Determine How Many Solar Panels You Will Need
Taking into account the factors in the section above, a simple formula to use to estimate the size of the system that you need is kWh per year / 1200 = the size system you need . Our actual system design will take many other factors into account, but this should be a good estimate. Once we have the kW needed, we will select the number of panels by reviewing your available roof space and your target budget. For example, if space is an issue, we will need to select a higher efficiency panel to keep the footprint small and the production high. Likewise, a cheaper panel could be selected if there is more available space to work with.
You can do the math or better yet, use the examples we compiled for you to get a ballpark idea of the number of panels youll need. We suggest contacting a solar installation professional to determine the exact size for a system that best fits your needs. In the meantime, this chart is a good reference point.
Note: A 330W solar panel covers roughly 19.5 sq. ft.
Most homeowners will need a 5 kW to 20 kW solar system. This would obviously vary depending on a few factors, such as: if you have a heated pool or use electric heat.
A $120 average monthly electric bill will need a 10 kW solar system to cover their annual energy usage. A 10 kW solar system will utilize 32 330W solar panels and cover roughly 624 sq. ft.
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Calculate Solar System Output
Once you know how much area you have for solar panels, and what angles and direction you will be working with, use a PV watts calculator to figure out how much power your system will put out on a monthly basis:
Choose The Right Solar Panels
If you have a small or odd-shaped roof, solar panel size is an important consideration when deciding on the size of a solar system. Take these factors into account:
- With a large usable roof area, you can buy more larger panels to get to your target energy output.
- If your usable roof area is limited or partially shaded, using fewer smaller high efficiency panels will ultimately be the most cost-effective, long-term solution. You can add more panels later on to accommodate increased energy needs.
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What Size Of Solar Panel Is Necessary
Vivint Solar will create a unique design for you after evaluating your energy consumption, location, and climate to determine the right sized solar energy system for your home.
The national average of consumed electricity is about 11,000 kWh, and a standard panel is currently between 310 and 315 watts and is expected to reach 330W by the end of 2019.. The energy produced by your solar panels will cover either all or a portion of your energy usage, reducing your reliance on more expensive and environmentally damaging energy sources.
Few Things About Solar Panel Output Efficiency
Solar panel type and quality make a significant difference in terms of solar output and efficiency. Not all solar panels are the same.
For instance, monocrystalline photovoltaic solar panels are known to be the most efficient solar panels on the market, but also the most expensive.
Their two main advantages over the other types of solar panels such as polycrystalline or thin film panels is that 1) they absorb more sunlight than conventional cells and their output efficiency is not affected that much by temperature and 2) they occupy less space. These are an ideal option if you do not have enough roof space for standard panels.
On the other hand, polycrystalline panels are cheaper, they are less efficient and therefore occupy more space, but offer a better return on investment than monocrystalline panels.
Because of these wide differences in quality and efficiency, its up to you to decide which solar panels are right for your home.
The main takeaway is that, the more efficient the panels are, the more power they can produce, and the fewer photovoltaic panels you will need on your roof to get the same energy output as you would get with polycrystalline or thin film solar panels.
Overall, if money is not an issue, monocrystalline panels are the best option.
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What Is The Nominal Voltage Of A Solar Panel
The nominal voltage of any device gives an indication of its designed operating voltage.
An auto battery, for example, operates at a nominal 12 volts d.c., because auto equipment is designed to operate at this average voltage. The same auto equipment could operate at 11 volts or 13 volts if needed, but 12 volts is the design voltage.
A lead-acid battery can have a terminal voltage of between 11.5 volts or almost 13 volts, depending on its state of charge.
A solar panel operates in a completely different way, but we call it a 12 volt panel because its ideal for charging 12 volt batteries
Solar panel open circuit volts is much higher than the normal operating volts. For a 12 volt solar panel its about 22 volts
How Much Does A Solar Panel Cost
Prices have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. According to consumer reports, after solar tax credits are accounted for, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from $11,000 to $15,000.
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What Size Solar Panels Charge A Battery Bank
Off-grid solar energy – where your system doesn’t connect to the grid – requires a battery bank.
It stores any excess power for use on dull days when power production is limited.
36 solar cells wired in a series produce 18v of power, called a 12v nominal panel, designed to charge a 12v battery.
72 solar cells produce energy to fully charge a 24v battery.
A 48v battery bank requires 2 x 72-cell solar panels to generate enough energy to charge it.
If you opt for the off-grid route, ensure the equipment/roof is substantial and can support the weight of the panels.