How Much Electricity Can A Solar Panel Generate: Energy in any form can be categorized under- basic needs, for today’s world. From small houses to mansion, from a small enterprise to the giant firms, energy is as important as any other vital resource. To comprehend such enormous demand for energy mankind relies on various conventional, unconventional means. This is slightly a vast topic covering different types of energy, their production and consumption but for now let’s focus on solar energy. Solar energy is an unconventional form of energy which is renewable as well.
The sun produces approximately 340 watt per square meter of the solar energy daily out of which 29% is reflected back and 71% is absorbed by the earth. This provides us with an applicable opportunity to use this solar energy for our consumption. So far the solar radiation has been used by plants and nature to sustain life on earth but humans have also found their way of utilizing solar radiation and that is via solar panels.
WHAT ARE SOLAR PANELS?
Solar panel is the colloquial form of photo-voltaic module (PV module). They convert the solar energy into electric energy which is now consumable. Sunlight can also be used directly like in a solar cooker but to power electrical loads it is imperative to convert it into electric current. Solar panels are a collection of these photovoltaic modules mounted over a supporting structure. A system of the solar panels is known as an array. How much electricity can a solar panel generate is also decided by the number of PV modules arranged in a panel.
WORKING OF SOLAR PANELS
Smaller units known as solar cells combine to form a solar panel. These solar cells are usually made up of silicon which is a semiconductor and ranks second among the most abundant elements on the planet. In each solar cell silicon, in crystalline form, is sandwiched between two conductive layers. There are four bonds that connect each silicon atom to another assuring no current can flow.
The silicon used is of two types: n-type silicon, having extra electrons giving it a negative charge and, p-type silicon, having extra space for electrons, giving it the positive charge. When the photons strike the solar cells they knock out the electrons from n-type silicon, allowing it to flow unidirectionally towards p-type silicon. The circuit is hence complete generating electric power. Simple, isn’t it? Well it’s not that simple but we don’t need to know in detail about this. Our area of concern is how much electricity can a solar panel generate? And how can we use it for our consumption.
HOW MUCH ELECTRICITY CAN A SOLAR PANEL GENERATE?
Each silicon cell produces half a volt. To generate more power we need to string them together into modules. For instance 12 photovoltaic cells are required to charge a cell phone and to generate enough electricity for an entire house multiples of modules are required. Most of the solar panels either used commercially or residentially produce power ranging from 200 watts to 400 watts. However more efficient solar panels generating more power can be installed but they will cost more to your pocket.
Before installing solar panels it is advised to check how many watts do we need to run the house. To do so, divide the average wattage requirement per hour to daily peak sunlight hours. By doing so we can get the amount of energy the panel needs to produce every hour. Basically in an area where 5 peak sunlight hours are available 6250 watts of power would be sufficient for a day.
To simplify how much energy can solar panels generate let’s take an example:
If you are getting 5 hours of sunlight daily and your solar panel’s wattage is 290 watts then the solar panel output would be: 5 hours * 290 watts = 1450 watts-hours ~ 1.5 kwh. So yearly approximately 500 kwh- 550 kwh of energy can be generated.
FACTORS AFFECTING ENERGY GENERATION IN SOLAR PANEL
The performance of solar panels in labs and in the real world is not identical. Various factors affect the amount of solar radiation approaching the solar panels, like:
- Impact of climate – on sunny days solar panels get to have more of the sunlight whereas on a cloudy day this amount is low.
- Tilt – it is the angle of inclination of the solar panel with the level. The closer you live to equator the lesser should be the inclination. However minute alteration won’t make much difference.
- Orientation – the solar panels should always face toward the direction where the exposure of sun is the most.
- Shade – solar panels should never be installed in a shady area otherwise it will dismiss the purpose of the very equipment.
- Geographical regions – sun light is not uniformly distributed to every knock and corner of the earth. Some places are more exposed to sun while some are not. Energy produced, hence, will vary according to the intensity of solar radiation.
Solar energy is clean energy, it’s eco friendly. Installation cost can sometimes be heavy but solar panels are durable. The energy produced through solar panels can be used for domestic as well as commercial purposes. Countries like the USA, China and India are focusing a lot towards the generation of solar energy. How much electricity can a solar panel generate depends on various factors like number of solar panels stringed in an array, intensity and peak hours of sunlight and many more. But if used efficiently solar power can be very potent and can surely contribute towards pollution control and climate crisis.