Solar panels are one of the most popular forms of generating energy for your home. It’s renewable, clean, and reliable, making it a very desirable choice. However, many still wonder how much electricity a solar panel can produce. While a lot of this can be down to specific conditions and the type of solar panel used, there are some general criteria that can help give you a rough estimate.
How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce?
Generally speaking, a 3kw or 4kw solar panel array will be able to produce enough energy to power a home containing a family of four or five people. A 2kw or 3kw array, on the other hand, will be able to supply enough energy to power a smaller home. A 4kw system will, on average, generate around 3,400kwh of electricity per year. When we break that down, we can see that it is enough to provide:
- 4,857 hours of the washing machine
- 97,143 hours of the fridge
- 1,880 hours of boiling the kettle
- 1,417 hours of the oven
Of course, every solar panel array is different, and so it can be tricky to determine exactly how much energy yours will generate. So here are some of the basic facts for the average, domestically used, solar panel system.
- Domestic systems tend to range from 1 kilowatt (kW) to 5kW in size.
- A 1kw system can produce around 850kw per year, a 2kw system 1,700lw per year, and a 5kw system 4,500kw per year.
- The Energy Saving Trust (EST) estimates that a typical three-bedroom home in the UK will use just over 3,000kw per year. So, a 4kw or 5kw system would cover this.
- However, the Feed-in Tariff pays the highest rates for systems smaller than 4kW.
What Determines the Amount of Electricity Produced?
There are actually four main factors that will determine how much electricity your solar panels will be able to produce for your home. These are as follows:
The size. This is the most important factor out of the four, as the larger the system is, the more electricity it will produce. If you are looking at a typical installation, it is a 3.5kw system, and this tends to be around 12 panels. Alternatively, the 1kw domestic system is likely to only be two panels.
Direction. This is the next most important factor. The direction in which your roof faces and its angles are more important than you might think. For optimum performance levels and efficiency, your panels should be facing south at an angle of 35 degrees.
The area of your roof that has the solar panels installed should not be in the shade during the day. Allowing the panels to be in the sunlight all day will increase the amount of electricity that you are able to produce.
Seasons. The time of year can also have an impact on efficiency and energy production. During the summertime, there are longer hours of daylight, so you will be able to produce a lot more power. However, it is also important to remember that solar panels actually work by capturing light as opposed to heat, so it will produce energy throughout the year.
How to Tell How Much Electricity is Being Generated
When you go to have your solar panels installed, they will come with a meter that is placed in an accessible location within your home. What this meter does is record the amount of electricity that is being produced by the solar system, as well as how much electricity they are exporting back to the National Grid. This then allows you to work out how much you will be paid by the Feed-in Tariff.
Solar panel manufacturers are also starting to develop online apps for your smartphone that will allow you to access the performance levels of your solar panel. This can be done either via the app, or online from your computer.
To get the most out of your solar panels and the electricity that is produced by them, you should ensure that you use your appliances (washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum, etc.) during the day as much as possible. This is because it is during the day that the panels will be generating energy.
You should also try to ensure that your home is as energy efficient as possible. This allows you to get the most out of your free energy. Try to use energy saving lightbulbs, and don’t leave electronic devices on standby if you can help it, as these are all contributing factors to excessive energy consumption. Try, also, to only use the washing machine on a full load.
Of course, it can be easy to forget about our solar panels. They don’t require much maintenance (just an occasional wash), and they automatically power your home. However, make sure you check them over at least once a month to make sure they are working to the best of their ability to provide you with energy.
Want to Know More?
Have you found yourself interested in solar panels? If you want to know more then make sure you head to our marketplace where you can find our full range of products, each with the relevant information. Or simply give us a ring using the number at the top of this page and have a chat.