As local electricity becomes more expensive, solar power is becoming more viable. Did you know that energy costs, on average, are rising by as much as 3% per year? This means that buying electricity from your local utility providers is just going to keep costing you more as the years go on.
For this reason, you might be looking for a more affordable source of electricity to power your home with. For many people, this more affordable source is going to come in the form of solar power. Solar power is always a good long term investment to make.
That said, one thing to consider here is the size of the solar panel system that you want to get. Moreover, you also need to consider how much electricity a solar panel system of a certain size can produce. Today, we want to take a look at a large 10kW solar system. In case you didn’t know, 10kW is quite a sizeable system for an average home.
To be specific, we want to figure out exactly how much electricity that 10kW solar system can produce. We also want to take a look at some other factors here. This includes the various factors that affect solar panel output.
Average Solar Panel Electricity Production
The very first thing we need to do is to determine how much electricity an average solar panel produces. First, each kilowatt of solar panel installed should produce roughly 4 kilowatt hours of electricity per day.
Now, the most common size of installation is a 5kW system. This means that a 5kW system should be able to produce up to 20 kilowatt hours of electricity per day.
On average, this results in roughly 600 kilowatt hours of electricity being produced per month. However, we are of course talking about a much larger 10kW solar system here.
Average Electricity Production of a 10kW Solar System
All we have to do here is some simple math. Simply multiply the output of a 5kW solar system by two. On average, a 10kW solar system should be able to produce roughly 40 kilowatt hours of electricity per day. This is the equivalent of roughly 1200 kilowatt hours of electricity per month.
Just to put this into perspective, the average American household uses just under 900 kilowatt hours of electricity per month. Therefore, in most places, a 10kW solar system should be more than enough to meet your needs.
That said, these calculations are all based off of average peak sunlight hours. There are also other factors that will affect solar panel output. Let’s move on and take a closer look at all of the factors that you need to take into account here.
Solar Panel Output & Peak Sunlight Hours
Perhaps the most important factor here is how much sunlight your solar panels actually get. When we are calculating solar panel output, a measurement known as peak sunlight is what is used. Peak sunlight is the amount of solar radiation that a solar panel needs to reach its peak output.
The definition of a peak sun hour is one hour where the intensity of the solar light reaches an average of 1000 watts per square meter. This generally only happens if the sun is shining directly on the solar panels. This is indeed a whole lot of sunlight.
Those numbers we provided you with above are based on a certain amount of these peak sunlight hours. Most places in the USA will get somewhere around 4 hours of peak sunlight per day. If a 10 kW solar system gets four hours of peak sunlight per day, it will produce around 40 kilowatt hours per day.
However, things do of course look different when these peak sunlight hours change. For instance, there are some extremely sunny places. These included areas such as Texas, Arizona, Hawaii, and others. Some of these areas may receive up to seven or even eight hours of peak sunlight per day.
Therefore, with eight hours of peak sunlight per day, a 10kW system could produce a whole lot more. If this were the case, that same system would produce closer to 80 kilowatt hours of electricity per day. This would equate to a full 2400 kilowatt hours of electricity produced per month.
However, there are also areas in the USA that get much less peak sunlight. Assuming that you live in an area that only gets two hours of pizza sunlight per day, output looks different once again. If this is the case, you could expect a 10 kilowatt solar system to produce 20 kilowatt hours per day. This would equate to roughly 600 kilowatt hours of electricity per month.
So, before you install solar panels, doing some research on peak sunlight hours is recommended. You definitely want to know exactly how much peak some might your area of the world gets.
Other Factors That Affect Solar Panel System Output
There are quite a few other factors that you need to consider here. The type of solar panels, their orientation, and more, will affect their output. Let’s take a quick look at all of the factors you need to consider.
The Type of Solar Panel
One important factor here is the type of solar panel that you get. There are different types of solar panels, and they each have different levels of efficiency. Generally speaking, amorphous silicon solar panels are the least efficient. They feature in efficiency between 6% and 8%.
You then have your cadmium Telluride solar panels. These usually have an efficiency anywhere from 9% to 11%. You then have copper Indium gallium selenide solar panels. These usually have an efficiency level anywhere from 13% to 15%.
Next, we have polycrystalline solar panels. These generally feature an efficiency level anywhere from 15% to 17%. We then also have monocrystalline solar panels. These are usually very efficient, generally 20% and higher. You then have PERC solar panels, which are about 5% more efficient (or more) than monocrystalline solar panels.
Solar Panel Tilt
Another factor that affects solar panel output is the angle or tilt at which they are installed at. Of course, they perform the best when they directly face the sun.
During the summer months, a low tilt or low angle is best. A 20 degree angle is best during the summer.
On the other hand, during the winter, a very steep angle is best. During the winter, a steeper 60 degree angle will serve you best. During both autumn and spring months, a moderate 45 degree angle is best.
For the best results, installing a solar system that can track the sun is ideal. This way, your solar panels will automatically adjust themselves to face the sun at the best possible angle.
Solar Panel & Roof Orientation
You do also want to consider the orientation of the solar panels. This therefore means that you also need to consider the orientation of your roof. What you are looking at here is that as the Azimuth angle.
This is referred to as the compass direction in which the sunlight comes from. Generally speaking, in the USA, you want your roof to be facing south.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, a south facing roof will capture the most sunlight. The exact angle at which your solar panels and roof should be oriented does depend on exactly where you live. That said, generally speaking, south is best.
Something else that will affect solar panel output is pollution. Various things such as ash from volcanoes, smoke from forest fires, and urban pollution can all affect output. All of these things will at block light from your solar panels.
For the most part, solar panels in rural areas will be more efficient. Urban areas tend to have a lot of air pollution, and therefore block out a lot sunlight. You can expect solar panels in rural areas to produce a bit more electricity than in urban areas.
You then also need to consider if there are any shading elements present. Trees, chimneys, other houses, and more can all get in the way of your solar panels. Anything and everything that gets in the way of your solar panels will affect their output.
Keep in mind that if one solar panel is shaded, it’s not just that panel that is affected. The whole string of solar panels will be affected by one shaded panel. Therefore, it is essential that your solar panels don’t have any shade thrown on them.
The other thing that will of course affect solar panel output is the weather. Cloudy days, rain, and heavy snowfall can all block sunlight from getting to your solar panels. The more bright, clear, and sunny days you get, the more that 10kW solar system will produce.
A 10kW solar system should usually be more than enough to meet your energy needs. Keep in mind that a 10kW solar system is extremely sizeable. This is especially the case for your average residential home.