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How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce?

By September 20, 2021September 30th, 2021Blog
Looking lengthwise across a solar panel row on a solar farm with an electric tower in the background.

A common question about solar panels is how much energy they produce: That can depend on a variety of factors and Coldwell Solar regularly discusses these details with our clients. However, let’s look at a broad overview of solar energy production, and what to expect from today’s solar panel.

Solar Panel Wattage Output

First, it’s important to note that not all solar panels are the same! Different types can be made from different materials and manufacturing techniques when creating individual solar cells, which can have a significant impact on performance. When you work with a commercial solar company like Coldwell, we make sure that your installation uses high-quality solar panels.

Second, solar panel efficiency also increases over time. Efficiency refers to the percentage of solar energy hitting the panel that can be successfully converted to electricity. Newer panels tend to have 21-23% efficiency at the highest, while older panels generally don’t do as well.

The selection of a panel for your commercial can be customized to meet your needs. While there are many types and sizes of panels on the market, our Coldwell experts will find the right panel to for your project. Not every project requires the same panel — our expertise gives us the flexibility to customize as much as is needed for your project to be successful.

All that considered, what can you expect from a solar panel? A high-quality panel can produce somewhere between 370 and 650 watts of power.

Sunlight Exposure

Why so much variance in solar panel installations? One reason we already mentioned is the quality of the panel itself. You also must consider weather, cloud cover, sun hours, orientation, if they can automatically adjust, and cleanliness and maintenance of the panels to make sure you’re optimizing your investment for the best return. Commercial and industrial solar in California has some of the best peak sun hours in the country, but even here production can vary.

Let’s take agricultural solar energy systems as an example: Set in an optimal location with no nearby buildings or trees to create issues with shade, a panel may get a good five hours of direct sunlight in a day. Let’s say that the solar panel can product 300 watts – that would give us 1500 watt-hours each day, or 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWH). While electricity production may not be the same throughout the year, let’s assume it stays around this level: That’s about 550 kWh of electricity produced in a year.

Now factor in that commercial solar energy solutions in California can have dozens of panels, and it’s easy to see how installations can reach 1 megawatt or more.

Powering Buildings

Can a solar panel installation power your entire building or facility? That depends on the type of building and how it is used – but the answer is often yes! Average monthly energy consumption for commercial properties in the United States is around 6,000 kWh, or 72,000 kWh per year. Some business may use far more electricity than others and some buildings may need much less power. In many cases, the average commercial solar array can handle the needs of a nearby building or even a cluster of buildings. Coupled with the ability to aggregate throughout a 12-month cycle, solar systems can easily produce the amount of energy needed to substantially lower your energy bill.

Pricing a Solar Installation

Solar installations are generally priced per watt, which helps owners understand the costs of the installation compared to the expected output, allowing them to make more accurate financial decisions. You can take a look at our portfolio to get a better idea of different solar panel projects and their potential output. We’re here to help you find the best solution to meet your energy needs.

The Fed has passed a bill granting renewable energy funds, meaning an expanded tax credit for renewable energy users

Contact us to learn how you can benefit today