How much power can I generate with solar?
If you have a solar energy system or want to install one for your home. You would want to know how much energy you can generate with your solar energy system. Calculating the amount of energy your system can produce is possible, although it is more of a theoretical calculation. The result will not likely match what your system will produce throughout the year.
Factors that affect your power generation
Multiple factors affect the amount of energy your solar energy system can produce. There are natural factors like your location, local climate, and sunlight. The mechanical factors will come down to your home, your system, and its orientation.
Your property’s roof
If your solar panels are placed on your roof, it will be one of the main factors in how much energy you can generate. If your roof has plenty of usable space, it will allow you to place more panels to increase your energy production.
Solar panel orientation and tilt
The orientation and tilt of your solar panels are important to capture the most sunlight possible. If your solar panels do not face the direction of the sun during peak hours, they won’t reach their ideal energy production. The direction and tilt of your panels will depend on your geographical location. We will set your panels to their ideal orientation and tilt when installing them.
Your solar energy system performance
Another mechanical factor is the efficiency of your solar panels. Efficient solar panels produce a large amount of power even with a smaller size. This means more of them can be fitted to your roof and increase your energy production. Higher efficiency and wattage panels tend to be more expensive, although improvements to panel technology can cause these prices to drop down in the future.
Your location and climate
Your location and climate are major factors concerning your potential energy production. Without any sunlight, you will not be generating any electricity. Even with sunlight above your panels, the amount of sunlight also affects the amount of energy generated.
The production ratio of your solar energy system is the estimated amount of power it generates over time compared to its size. The estimated energy output per year is in kWh, and the system size is in W. In reality, you will never reach an equal 1:1 ratio. You will get an idea of how these factors affect your energy production by referencing your production ratio. With all of the energy generation factors covered, you will get an idea of how they factor into your solar energy system’s generation.
How do I calculate the potential energy generation?
To calculate the potential energy your system can generate you need to know:
- The size of your roof is square feet.
- The wattage of your solar panels, along with their size in square feet.
- The average hours of direct sunlight (sun-hours) per day in your area. The national average in the U.S. is 5 hours.
With that information, you can calculate the potential generation by:
- Divide the size of your roof with the size of your solar panels. This value roughly assumes your entire roof surface is used for solar. If you already have panels installed, you can skip this step.
- You take the number of panels you have and multiply it with the watt power output of your panels. The result will be a kW value of your system size.
- The kW value will then be multiplied by the number of sunlight hours per day and then 365 days in a year. The final result will be kWh of energy production your system will make annually.
Here’s an example of this calculation:
- A roof size of 1000 square feet divided by a 2.7 square foot solar panel would roughly equal 370 solar panels.
- These 370 panels produce 360 watts, this total production would be 133200 watts or about 133 kW.
- 133 kW multiplied by 5 hours and 365 days would result in 242725 kWh of annual energy production.
Numbers don’t reflect reality
Keep in mind these values are potential numbers. They may not reflect the day-to-day weather and sunlight conditions of your area. Along with the number of solar panels that can realistically fit on your roof and the amount of energy they produce. The example calculations we have shown are a perfect case scenario. The average U.S. household consumes roughly 10,600 kWh of electricity annually. Your solar energy system will be greater than that amount.
These calculations can give you a rough idea of your solar system’s potential performance. However, they rely on many ideal conditions that we don’t experience in reality. Your local weather and sunlight hours can be checked through forecasts, although they can change quickly. Your system might not reach its peak power output at peak sun hours. Your roof layout might make it harder to install a large number of panels. Your panels may not be at the perfect orientation and tilt to capture 100% of the sunlight during the day. These realities are why calculations are always potential. The best we can do is account for these factors when installing your solar panel system and keep them well maintained throughout the year. Improving your system’s production ratio will result in tangible benefits for your energy production.
Start generating solar energy with a system of your own.
If you see the potential benefits that solar energy can do for you. Our website also has a free online estimate tool that generates a personalized report for you from a simplified questionnaire. That report will contain the potential savings you can net, and the cost of a solar energy system installed on your property. You can also contact us directly via phone at +1 (602) 363-8919 or via email at Scott@elitesolarenergy.org for more information regarding solar energy for your property.