SOLAR ENERGY

How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce? (Updated in 2022)

June 20, 2022
Solar Panels
Solar
Solar Panel Energy

Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, so the amount of energy a solar panel produces depends on how sunny it is. In general, solar panels produce more energy in the summer than in the winter.

One solar panel can produce between 1 and 5 kilowatt-hours of energy a day, depending on its wattage rating and the amount of sunlight it receives. A solar panel's wattage rating is a measure of how much power it can generate. The wattage rating usually ranges from 200 to 400 watts. 

The average American home uses about 10,715 kilowatt-hours of energy a year according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Solar panel technology is constantly improving, so the ratings and capabilities will continue to increase in the future.

How Much Solar Energy Can Your House Produce With Solar Panels? What About Kilowatt Hours?

Solar panels can produce a significant amount of energy for your home. Most solar panel systems consist of multiple solar panels and can produce anywhere from 25% to 100% of a home's needs. The number of solar panels you need depends on the size of your home, how much solar energy you want to produce, and the number of sunlight hours in your area.

In general, solar panels produce more energy in the summer than in the winter. This is because there is more sunlight available during the summer months.

A solar panel system typically consists of between 6 and 20 solar panels. Each solar panel can produce between 1 and 5 kilowatt-hours of energy a day, depending on its wattage rating and the amount of sunlight it receives.

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Calculating How Many Solar Panels You Need for Effective Solar Energy Production

There are 4 steps to calculating how many solar panels you need:

  1. Find out how much energy your home uses every month.
  2. Understand the peak sunlight hours in your area.
  3. Figure out the amount of solar energy you need your solar panel system to produce.
  4. Determine how many solar panels you need.

Step 1: Determine How Much Energy Your House Uses Every Month

First, you must find out how much energy your house consumes every month. To do this, you'll need to find out your home's average monthly electricity usage. You can find this information on your energy bill listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

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Step 2: Find Out the Peak Sunlight Hours in Your Area

The amount of sunlight solar panels receive affects their energy production. In order to get an accurate estimate of how much energy your solar panels will produce, you need to know the average sunlight hours in your area.

You can find this information on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's website. The website has a solar potential map that shows you the average sunlight hours in your area. For example, Chattanooga has 4.7 peak sunlight hours.

Step 3: Calculate the Solar Energy Output You Need

The amount of energy your solar system needs to generate will be determined by the amount of energy your home consumes every day, as well as the number of sunlight hours your location receives.

First, we'll calculate the daily energy usage of your home by dividing your home's yearly energy usage by 365.

The daily energy usage of your home = (your annual energy usage) / 365.

To calculate this, multiply your home's monthly energy usage by 12 and then divide by 365. For example, if your energy bill says you are using 2,000 kWh per month, multiply it by 12 and divide by 365 to get 65.75 kWh per day.

Now we can calculate the amount of energy your solar system must generate based on the daily peak sunlight hours.

The formula for calculating the solar panel system size = (daily energy usage) / (peak sunlight hours).

Dividing your daily energy usage by the peak sunlight hours for your area will show you how big of a solar panel system you need.

For example, if your area has 7 hours of peak sunlight then dividing 65.75 kWh per day by 7 gives us 9.39 kWh, which means you should install a 10 kW solar panel system to support the required energy.

Once you know the total amount of solar energy your solar panel system must produce, we can move on to figuring out how many solar panels you will need.

Step 4: Determine How Many Solar Panels You Need

The number of solar panels your system needs will depend on the wattage of the solar panels you want to buy. For example, if you want solar panels to produce enough energy to cover most of your home’s needs, you would need a solar panel with a higher wattage rating. Conversely, if you only want solar panels to cover a portion of your home’s needs, you can buy solar panels with a lower wattage rating which are less expensive.

The number of solar panels needed = (size of your system in kW) * 1,000 / (wattage of solar panel). 

For example, if you need a solar system that generates 10 kW of energy and you want to purchase solar panels with a wattage rating of 500 watts, the calculation would be 10 kW * 1,000 / 500 watts = 20 solar panels.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

The cost of solar panels varies based on the wattage of the solar panels. A solar panel's wattage rating is a measure of how much energy it can produce. The higher the wattage, the more expensive the solar panel will be because higher wattage panels produce more solar energy.

Solar panels with a rating of 300 watts typically cost between $200 and $500. Solar panels with a rating of 500 watts typically cost between $400 and $1,000.

When installing solar panels, you need to make sure you have enough space on your roof to accommodate them. Most solar panels are about 5-6 feet wide and 3-4 feet tall, so you’ll need at least that much space on your roof to install them. However, if you have a limited amount of space on your roof, you can buy solar panels that are less than 500 watts because they are typically smaller in size.

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A complete solar panel system of several solar panels typically costs between $10,000 and $25,000. However, the cost of a solar panel system can vary depending on the size of your home and the number of solar panels you need.

The best way to determine how much a solar panel system will cost is to seek out a reputable solar contractor and for a complete solar system quote. Contact EPB Energy ProsSM for free, unbiased advice and contractor recommendations.

Are Solar Panels Worth the Investment? (Cost vs. Value)

Solar panels typically pay for themselves in 12 to 18 years, and they can last for 25 to 30 years. That means you'll be enjoying the benefits of solar power for many years to come.

The decision to buy solar panels depends on where you live. In some states, solar panels are a great investment because the government offers financial incentives like tax credits and rebates.

In other states, solar panels are not as cost-effective because the government does not offer financial incentives. However, solar panels can still save you money on your energy bill over the long term.

Depending on the size of your solar system and where you live, you could save anywhere from 50% to 100% on your energy bill. Make sure you’re working with a reputable solar installer who can provide the right guidance on a system that’s sized appropriately for your home and your energy needs. Unfortunately, your energy bill savings could amount to less than 50% if the system isn’t large enough for your needs.

The average savings amount from solar panels is between $50 and $100 per month. That means you can save anywhere from $600 to $1,200 per year by investing in a solar panel system. Depending on where you live, the cost of a solar panel system can range anywhere from $10,000 to $90,000. Here in Chattanooga, we are seeing an average of $40,000-$50,000 per installation — or $1 to $3 per watt.

Another thing to bear in mind is that since solar panels generate clean energy, they may help you decrease your dependency on fossil fuels while also saving money on your power bill.

What Other Considerations Should You Be Aware of When Figuring Out How Much Energy Solar Panels Produce?

When installing solar panels, you need to make sure you have enough space on your roof to accommodate them. Most solar panels are about 5-6 feet wide and 3-4 feet tall, so you’ll need at least that much space on your roof to install them. However, if you have a limited amount of space on your roof, you can buy solar panels that are less than 500 watts.

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EPB Energy Pros Are Here to Help

Contact EPB Energy Pros for a free solar energy consultation. We'll guide you through your solar energy options with free, unbiased advice on rooftop solar panel investments. We can also provide contractor recommendations that you can trust and estimate reviews to help you better understand contractor quotes.

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