Those of you who are new to solar energy often approach us with questions about the efficacy of your solar panels. We understand that all the terms used to describe solar panels can be confusing, especially when you’re looking for a straightforward answer to your question.
One of the most recent questions we received was “How much power does a 7kW solar system produce?” To answer this question, we decided to explain what all the variables are in determining solar power output.
Read our easy-to-understand guide below, and not only will you have the answer to this question, but you’ll understand your solar panels so much better.
How Much Power Does a 7kw Solar System Produce?
You’re ready to buy a solar panel kit for your home but want to make sense of all the terminology? We can help. To understand how much power your 7kW solar system produces, keep reading for a simple explanation of all the variables.
What Does the 7kW Rating Mean?
A 7kW rating means that the system is capable of producing a maximum of 7 kilowatts, or 7,000 watts, of power at any time. However, as a solar system requires solar energy from the sun, this rating is dependent on sufficient sunlight hitting the solar panels.
How Does This Translate Into a Daily Energy Production?
In general, you can expect production of about 28-40 kWh or kilowatt hours daily. As stated above, this depends on the amount of sunlight that your solar panels receive. This is why the daily energy production figures can vary.
What Can I Do to Maximize the Daily Energy?
If you want to get the most out of your solar system, there are several things that you can do. The most effective is to ensure that your panels are placed in the optimal position for sunlight in your particular location.
Is There a Difference Between Power and Energy?
Yes, there is. While these two terms are often confused, there is a distinct difference in their meaning. Once you understand the basic difference in the meaning of these 2 terms, you’ll be able to work out the answer to any question you have about your solar system.
For example, how much does an 8kW solar system produce? Let’s look at the 2 terms more closely, and you’ll have the means to find your answer.
The power of your system is measured in kW or kilowatts. This is the instantaneous availability of electricity from your solar system. To understand the maximum amount of electricity or power, look at the number in the rating.
For example, if you ask how much power a 5kw solar system produces, the answer will always be the same - 5 kilowatts. The amount of energy it generates may vary.
Similarly, if asked how much electricity a 4kw solar system produces the answer would be a maximum of 4 kilowatts of electrical power at any given moment.
The energy of your solar system is measured in kWh or kilowatt hours. This refers to the power output over some time. For example, per hour, per day, or month. The kWh figure is not the same as the power rating.
Using a similar example to above, if you were to ask how many kWh a 12kw solar system produces, the answer would vary depending on external factors such as the availability of direct sunlight. The maximum potential power would be 12 kilowatts.
And if the question was how much energy does a 10kw solar system produce, once again the answer would be expressed in kilowatt hours or kWh and vary depending on solar energy harnessing conditions.
How to Work out the kWh
To work out how much electrical energy will be available for the day, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) use this formula.
- First, take the size of your solar panel (in square meters).
- Then, multiply that figure by 1,000.
- Take that figure and multiply it by the panel’s efficiency (which is expressed as a percentage. You’ll have to convert it to a decimal point.)
- Take that figure and then multiply it by the number of sun hours in your area each day.
- Divide this final figure by 1,000 and you’ll have your answer.
Wait a minute, this formula mentions something called efficiency. What is the efficiency of a solar panel? And what does it mean for your solar panel’s power output? Let’s take a quick look at what the efficiency of your solar panel means.
Solar Panel Efficiency
The average domestic solar panel has an efficiency of 16-22% although some of the latest panels have higher efficiency. The efficiency metric measures how much of the sun's available energy gets turned into usable electrical energy.
When you know your solar panel’s efficiency metric, and the number of sun hours in your area, you will be able to do the calculation above and work out how many kWh your 7kw solar panel will produce in a day.
The higher the efficiency, the more energy your solar can produce.
Various factors can affect your solar panel’s efficiency. Here are some examples:
- Local weather conditions
- Peak daylight hours in your area
- The location of your panels
- The tilt angle of your panels
- Maintenance of panels
- Panel quality
Efficiency is measured in watts per meter.
Solar panels are not all alike. The different materials will affect efficiency too. Monocrystalline solar panels are generally more efficient than polycrystalline and thin film solar panels. The efficiency of your solar panel can also be improved through the use of a solar inverter.
This is not as complicated to determine as it sounds. A simple way to figure out how many sunlight hours you get is by monitoring it for a few days and taking notes. For exact peak sun hours measurements, it is best to leave it to the experts.
You may find the peak sun hours maps designed by the National Renewable Energy Lab very helpful in your calculations.
As our more regular readers know, our mission is to make understanding solar systems simple and fun.
When you are starting to lead a more sustainable lifestyle by incorporating solar energy, it can be confusing. That is why we strive to offer not only the best service but also the best no-nonsense information on solar products.
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