Good question! It’s one that we get a lot.
On average, a solar panel produces anywhere from 100 – 400 watts of power per hour. For a frame of reference, a standard lightbulb consumes about 60 watts of power per hour.
As you can see, a single panel isn’t enough to power your home. In fact, standard American homes tend to require a setup of more than two dozen high-efficiency panels in order to meet their full electricity needs.
To further explain, let’s take a look at factors that impact a solar panel’s power production:
- The climate you live in
- Hours of direct sunlight
- Conventional vs. premium panels
- How clean your panels are
- Inverter size
We’ll then review how to capitalize on your solar panel production with battery storage options. That way, you enjoy maximum power and higher energy savings!
Get a FREE in-home estimate on a residential solar installation from the experts at Photon Brothers!
Just give us a call at (720) 370‑3344 (Colorado) or (805) 351‑3371 (California) or book directly through our website below. Our solar engineers are standing by, ready to provide a thorough review of your home’s electricity needs. We offer custom solar designs to save you money on energy bills for years to come!
The Climate You Live In
The more sunshine your area receives, the more electricity your solar panel can produce.
For example, a solar panel in Central Coast California receives more sunshine per year than cloudy Seattle. And because it receives more sunlight, it produces more electricity.
That being said, a homeowner in Seattle can still reap the benefits of solar. They’ll just need to increase the number of solar panels they install.
Hours of Direct Sunlight
In addition to climate, it’s also important to remember that the sun only shines for about half the day. This means that while you may be using electricity at 10 o’clock at night, your solar panel’s power production is at zero, and you’ll need to pull power from the grid (or a solar battery, if you have one).
Furthermore, your solar panel’s efficiency is only at 100% for probably a few hours mid-day when the sun is strongest.
At 9 a.m., for example, the sun may be rising in the sky, but your solar panel’s power production might be limited to only 30%. So if you have a 300-watt solar panel, 30% power is only 100-watts or a third of your panel’s capacity.
To ensure you reap the most significant benefit, it’s wise to invest in a solar array of multiple panels. Even at 30% efficiency, three to four panels will produce roughly the same amount of power as one panel at 100%.
Conventional vs. Premium Panels
Premium solar panels produce higher amounts of electricity than conventional ones do.
For example, at Photon Brothers we only install the most advanced REC panels with an average of 300 – 400 watts of power per panel. This means that even if the sun’s rays are limiting power production to just 30%, you’ll still get roughly 100 watts of power per panel.
Conventional panels, on the other hand, can only produce about 100 watts of power per panel. So if sunlight is limited, your power production could be less than 30 watts, which, as we mentioned above, isn’t even enough to power a light bulb.
Although more expensive upfront, premium panels provide your most significant return on investment. Not only do they come with better warranties (REC panels come with a standard 25-year warranty), but they also perform better under intense temperatures— often when the sun is strongest, and your chances of generating electricity are highest.
Even better? Premium panels maintain higher efficiency over time. After 25 years, REC panels are rated to have 92% output, whereas convention panels are only around 85%-88%.
Curious to learn more? Check out our blog, “How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Produce?”
How Clean Your Panels Are
Just like your car, your solar panels are exposed to the elements. And in time, they will naturally get covered in dirt, dust, pollen, bird droppings, and other debris that can block sunlight from penetrating them.
When this happens, no matter how sunny your climate nor how many premium panels you have installed, your electricity production will be limited, simply for the fact that your panels are dirty.
If you’ve noticed a decline in your solar panel power production, it pays to invest in a solar panel cleaning.
Solar panels generate DC or “direct current” power. Your home, however, relies on AC or “alternating current” power. So in order to convert DC power to AC power, you will need an inverter.
Because inverters come in various sizes, getting the right one for your solar setup is crucial. If poorly sized, you risk losing out on your solar panel’s maximum electricity production.
The good news is that a qualified solar professional can assess your home’s energy needs and then recommend the perfect inverter for your unique setup. At Photon Brothers, we offer free in-home and virtual estimates, including expert solar guidance and upfront prices!
How To Maximize Power With a Solar Battery
To get the most out of your solar panel’s electricity production, it pays to invest in a solar battery.
Around midday, when the sun is strongest, it’s common for solar panels to produce more electricity than a home can use at that time. Worse, you have all this power when you’re probably away at work (since most people tend to use power in the mornings and later in the evenings).
So, how can you capture excess power to serve you when needed? A solar battery!
At any point during the day, your solar panels can send excess electricity to your battery. Then, you can draw from your battery when the sun isn’t shining— such as at night, on cloudy days, and even during power outages.
By and large, customers see the most significant ROI with a solar battery installed in tandem with their solar panels. Especially if they have a smaller solar array or happen to live in a cloudier climate.
Curious to learn more about how you can start generating electricity with your solar system? Speak with a solar professional who offers free in-home energy assessments. That way you get solar advice that’s customized to your unique home and budget.
Get a FREE Solar Panel Installation Quote From Photon Brothers!
For over a decade, homeowners have turned to Photon Brothers for custom solar designs that save on both energy costs and their carbon footprint. If you’re thinking about going solar, contact our team of NABCEP certified solar professionals and we’ll conduct a FREE virtual or in-home solar estimate. We offer premium REC panels for maximum power output, including industry-leading warranties. Call today (720) 370‑3344 (Colorado) or (805) 351‑3371 (California)!