The output of your system, also called the wattage, is an important factor to consider when deciding on which solar panels to purchase. Determining how big your solar system should be and how much energy your solar panels can generate is important in making the correct decisions for your needs. To get a clearer picture of what is required, it is essential to understand the output of your system. A question often asked is, “How much power do my solar panels produce?”. The first step is to understand what all the specifications are of your product. These are terms you will come across:
Standard Test Condition (STC): This refers to the power rating that your solar panel achieved, tested under ideal conditions. These conditions include that the solar panel is operating at 25°C while there are 1000 watts of sunlight per square meter hitting the panel. Solar panel output is measured in units of Watts
Watts (W): The method used to measure the amount of electricity generated. Solar panels can have an energy output ranging from 275W – 400W.
Efficiency statistic: The percentage of sunlight your panel will convert into energy.
Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): Refers to the number of Volts a solar panel outputs with no load attached.
Monocrystalline solar panels: A solar panel comprising monocrystalline solar cells. These cells are made from a cylindrical silicon ingot grown from a single crystal of silicon of high purity in the same way as a semiconductor. The cylindrical ingot is sliced into wafers forming cells.
Polycrystalline solar panels: Solar panels that consist of several crystals of silicon in a single PV cell.
Three aspects influence your solar system’s output. These are the panel’s size, efficiency and type of cells used. Being able to decipher the specifications of your solar panels and how that affects the output of your system is essential. The calculation used to determine output is as follows:
Solar panel watts x average hours of sun-hours x 75% = daily watt-hours
The 75% accounts for all the variables involved – environmental, location, and facing direction.
Knowing and understanding the power output of your system is important in evaluating if you are getting value for your money. The cost of your system is directly influenced by your system’s output. The more the output is, the more you will pay. Knowing how to determine your output will also enable you to make sure you generate enough electricity to cover your requirements.
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