How much electricity is generated by a solar panel?

While there are numerous factors that can determine how much energy a solar panel can create, in the United States, you can anticipate that a single solar panel will typically provide roughly 2 kWh per day, saving you, on average, $0.36 per day in electricity expenditures.

Now, $0.36 may not seem like much, but that is only the energy saved by one panel for a single day. On the other hand, installing an entire solar panel system would result in savings of up to $132 a month.

How do you calculate the amount of electricity one solar panel will generate? What exactly determines how much electricity a solar panel will produce? Let’s investigate.

What affects the amount of electricity that solar panels can produce? 

There are a number of variables that can determine how much power a solar panel will generate, but two categories have the biggest impact:

  • Characteristics of the solar panel itself
  • How much sunlight the solar panel has access to

Panel characteristics 

The wattage, or power rating, of the panel is the most crucial factor to consider when it comes to power generation. The watts indicates how much power a panel will generate under a particular set of testing settings, known as Standard Test Conditions (STC).

The majority of household solar panels in use today have a power rating of 300 to 370 watts. A panel can produce more electricity the higher its wattage.

The manner a panel is built affects the wattage of the panel. The wattage of a solar panel, for instance, depends on the sort of solar cells utilized. Due to their ability to produce more power than earlier solar cell technologies, monocrystalline solar cells are what are used in the majority of solar panels today (namely polycrystalline solar cells).

How much electricity a solar panel can create will also depend on how many solar cells are contained within it. Solar panels typically feature either 60 or 72 cells. Despite the fact that 72-cell panels are substantially larger and hence rarely utilized for household solar, they produce more electricity simply because there are more solar cells.

Amount of sunlight 

Another significant determinant of how much power a solar panel will produce is the amount of sunshine that it receives. The solar panel can create more electricity the more sunlight that is accessible to it.

Solar panels are subjected to 1,000 watts of sunshine per square meter for an hour in a laboratory test. There are scientists that have calculated the number of daily peak sun hours that various locations on earth receive. This is what is known as a “peak sun hour.” Where there are more peak sun hours, solar panels can generate more electricity.

Given identical other circumstances, the following table illustrates how much energy a 370-watt panel could generate in states with various quantities of sunlight:

StateNumber of peak sun hoursDaily electricity production
Arizona7.5 2.7 kWh
Alaska2.50.93 kWh
California62.2 kWh
New Jersey41.5 kWh

As you can see, a solar panel can generate twice as much electricity in states with high levels of sunshine, such as Arizona and California, than it can in a state with low levels of sunshine, such as Alaska.

The only difference is that three solar panels would need to be installed in Alaska to generate the same amount of electricity as one panel did in Arizona. However, you may still install solar in Alaska.

Other factors 

A lot of additional factors affect how much electricity a solar panel will generate. Consider the effect of panel temperature: a solar panel actually produces less electricity as it becomes hotter. Imaginary, huh? More information regarding how temperature impacts solar production can be found here.

The panel will produce less electricity if it is in any manner covered, such as by a tree’s shade or dust that collects on its surface.

Even your roof’s slope and orientation can affect how much solar electricity is produced. Due to the sun’s path across the sky, south-facing roofs may typically generate more electricity.

How to determine how much electricity a solar panel can produce 

Now that we’ve discussed the factors that affect a solar panel’s capacity to generate power, we can move on to the interesting topic of how much electricity a panel generates.

We’ve already established that a variety of variables will affect how your solar panels produce electricity. Therefore, in order to keep things simple, we’ll simply consider a few factors for the example below, including:

  • The wattage of the panel
  • The peak sun hours in your area

The only calculation required is to calculate the panel’s wattage by the number of daily peak solar hours in your region.

A 370-watt solar panel installed by a New York homeowner can anticipate roughly 3.5 peak sun hours each day. This indicates that this panel would generate 1,295 watt-hours of electricity daily (electricity is normally measured in kilowatt-hours; therefore, divide 1,295 watt-hours by 1,000 to obtain 1.3 kWh per day):

370 watts x 3.5 peak sun hours = 1,295 Watt-hours per day

1,295 watt-hours /1,000 = 1.3 kWh per day

If you wanted to know how much that panel would produce in a month, multiply 1.3 kWh by 30 days:

1.3 kWh x 30 days = 39 kWh per month

What about for a year? It’s easy – just take that 1.3 kWh and multiply it by 365 days:

1.3 kWh x 365 days = 475 kWh per year

Remember that this is a very streamlined method of estimating how much electricity a solar panel generates. Based on all of the previously listed circumstances, the actual quantity will change from day to day and even hour to hour.

Which solar panels can produce the most electricity?

As we previously mentioned, solar panels with higher wattages can generate more electricity. Some well-liked high-wattage solar panels that may supply you with the most electricity are included in the following table:

Solar panel modelPower ratingEstimated daily power production*
1. SunPower A Series425 W2.3 kWh
2. LG NeON405 W2.03 kWh
3. REC Group Alpha Series405 W2.03 kWh
4. Q. CELLS Q. PEAK Duo385 W1.98 kWh
5. Panasonic EverVolt380 W1.90 kWh

*Estimated production of a single panel assuming 5 peak sun hours, 25*C cell temperature, and 1.5 air mass. 

Remember that high-wattage panels can cost more as well. This implies that the upfront cost of your system can increase. As long as you have the roof space, you can install more low-wattage panels and yet achieve the same overall system production.

Should you install high-efficiency panels to produce more electricity? 

Solar panel efficiency is certainly something you’ve read about if you’ve ever searched “How much electricity can a solar panel produce” online. The wattage of a panel is far more significant than its efficiency rating, let me tell you that much.

Why? because when determining the power rating, the panel’s efficiency is taken into account. You see, the maximum amount of electricity that a panel may produce is determined by its power rating (give or take a few watts).

Therefore, even though Panel B has a greater efficiency rating, it will still only produce 360 watts if Panel A is 370 watts and has a 19% efficiency rating and Panel B is 360 watts and has a 21% efficiency rating. Panel A will be able to produce more while having a lower efficiency.

How much electricity can an entire solar panel system generate? 

Now that we have figured out how to calculate the amount of electricity one panel can produce, let’s face it: nobody is going to put one solar panel on their roof. One solar panel could power a few lights, charge your phone, and keep your TV on, but it just isn’t enough to pay for your energy needs.

Depending on their wattage, solar panels in the U.S. typically range in size from 16 to 18 and are about 6 kW in size. Every month, a 6 kW system will produce between 720 and 900 kWh (for reference, the average American household uses about 893 kWh of electricity monthly).

However, because every family uses electricity differently, a 6 kW solar system won’t work for everyone.

Power your whole home with solar to save money 

Now that you are aware of how much solar electricity a single solar panel and a whole system can generate, you can plan accordingly.

The best news, though, is that going solar does much more than just allow you to power your house with green energy; it also enables you to save money. You can avoid paying your utility by using the electricity produced by solar panels on your roof rather than obtaining it from them.

You can often install sufficient solar panels to pay for all of your electrical needs. In fact, the typical American homeowner might save between $90 and $100 a month by installing the 6 kW solar system we discussed previously!

But naturally, this is only a guess. The amount of money you can save with solar panels depends on a number of things, much like how much electricity a panel generates. Using the solar panel savings calculator provided below is the simplest way to see how much money solar panels can save you. You can opt to contact pre-screened local solar providers to start receiving accurate solar bids for your particular property in addition to receiving a free estimate of your solar savings.

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