How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce?

how much energy does a solar panel produce

With electricity costs higher than they’ve ever been, more people are asking “How much energy does a solar panel produce?”. Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly attractive as people attempt to combat the rising cost of living. 

But many of us also want to find greener ways to live and work toward a net-zero future. It’s estimated that there are around 40,000 Irish homes equipped with solar panel systems. By 2030, the Irish government aims to increase this by another 250,000. 

Are solar panels an efficient solution for producing energy? Currently, even a modest system can meet around 50% of the annual electricity demands of an average household. But as PV technology gets better, you can expect power output and savings on energy to go up.  

The Energy Potential of Solar Panels 

How much energy does a solar panel produce? In the past, solar panels haven’t been particularly efficient at converting sunlight into energy. But improvements in PV technology have made it a much better choice for homeowners who want to switch to cleaner and cheaper energy sources. 

A typical solar panel made today puts out between 400 and 600 watts of power. In general, a rooftop solar panel can produce more than 300 watts of power under normal conditions. However, several factors need to be considered before you can firmly answer the question, ‘How much energy does a solar panel produce?’.  

Taking the typical factors into consideration, a standard home installation typically comprises 10 panels, each with a 400W capacity. As per data from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), the average electricity demand for an Irish household totals 4,200 kW/h annually.

What Factors Determine the Efficiency of a Solar Panel System?

Solar panels in Ireland are more efficient than you might think. However, how much energy you can generate ultimately hinges on a few factors. First, you’ll need to consider the technical side of things. The overall size of your solar panels plays a big role in power output, while cell efficiency also needs to be determined.  

Most PV systems use one of two panel sizes. 54-cell panels are the smallest of the two, measuring around 1.7 metres by 1 metre producing about 400 watt on average.  

Larger solar panels are available. 72-cell solar panels are only slightly larger than 60-cell ones and can produce between 400 and 700 watts of power.  

Both of these sixes are very commonly used in all domestic works. 

 Solar panel technology is more efficient than ever before. Most silicon solar cells can turn just over 20% of the energy they get from the sun into energy that can be used. Naturally, the higher the efficiency rating, the more power output you can expect.  

How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce Before it Pays for Itself? 

In the past, it could have taken up to 15 years before your PV system started paying for itself. But as PV technology has gotten better at turning sunlight into energy that can be used, the time it takes for a system to pay for itself has gotten a lot shorter. What’s more, as energy costs continue to rise, the payback period of solar panels continues to shrink. 

If traditional energy tariffs continue to rise at the rate they have been doing, the payback period of solar panel installation could soon be as little as five years. Are solar panels worth it in Ireland? No matter whether you’re looking for solar panels in Waterford or PV installation further afield, investing in solar technology is a sure-fire way of safeguarding yourself against future energy price hikes.  

What Other Factors Determine the Effectiveness of Solar Panels? 

To answer the question “How much energy does a solar panel produce?” we need to take into account multiple factors. Environmental conditions play a significant role in the efficiency of solar panel systems. The placement of your solar cells is crucial to ensuring you yield the best results. Installing panels in areas that get a lot of shade is never a good idea, and it can drastically cut the amount of energy you can make.  

What’s more, orientation is something else to consider. The good news is that Ireland receives plenty of daylight every day, and sunny weather is not needed for panels to work.  

Thinking about solar panels in Limerick? East-west or south-facing installations will give you the most light and make your system work better. In fact, solar panels in Cork could meet a large portion of the city’s domestic electricity demands.  

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need? 

If you want to dramatically slash your energy bills, you’re probably thinking about a larger PV system. As you’d expect, the larger a solar panel system is, the more electricity you can expect to generate. A typical household installation will include 10 400W panels. But if your property is big enough, you can make your system bigger and save even more money by adding battery storage.  

To get an idea of how many solar panels you might need, you’ll first need to calculate your daily energy requirements. According to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), the average Irish household has an annual electricity demand of 4,200 kW/h. Generally, it’s either a modest 10-panel system or a maximum 15-panel system, your average bill will clearly depict the level of investment you should consider. 

Solar Panel Requirement Checklist 

Now that we’ve answered the question, “How much energy does a solar panel produce?” you can start considering how big your PV system needs to be. By now, you should have a clear idea of how much electricity you’re using and the kind of output your system needs to deliver. 

Are Solar Panels a Good Investment? 

If you’re looking to embrace a greener way of living, solar panel technology is the way to go. Ireland’s Climate Action Plan aims to slash carbon emissions by 51% by the end of the decade. By 2050, Ireland intends to be a net-zero country. To achieve these goals, everyone needs to do their part.  

Many people have resisted the idea of solar panel technology. Some assume that it’s too expensive, while others write off the effectiveness of such systems because of the Irish weather. As we’ve seen, PV systems quickly pay for their extra costs, especially in a time when energy costs are going up. Do solar panels work on cloudy days? PV systems can be a little less effective when it’s cloudy, but solar panels will still make a lot of energy even when it’s cloudy.  

Provided your system is being regularly serviced and you know how to clean solar panels, it should continue to perform optimally for many years. Instantly upon installation, you can reduce your electricity bill significantly. Also, if you bought a bigger array, you may find that you have more energy than you need and can sell it back to the grid.  

Why You Should Embrace Solar Panel Technology 

Solar panel technology has come a long way in recent years. When we ask today, “How much energy does a solar panel produce?” we can answer it with confidence. Modern PV systems have a lot of energy potential. For example, a single solar panel installed on a roof can make as much as 400 watts of power. 

Solar panel systems also pay for themselves surprisingly quickly. If your electricity demands are high and you’ve invested in a large enough system, you can expect to see a return on your investment in as little as 5–7 years. 

Ireland is also well-positioned to benefit from solar energy, due to our cool maritime climate, which PV equipment enjoys more than baking heat. PV technology is also becoming more accessible. Solar electricity grants offered by SEAI make it a surprisingly affordable option, even for households with average incomes.  

Get in Touch Today 

Tired of shelling out a large slice of your income on energy bills? Now’s the time to think about investing in solar panels. Looking for solar panels in Dublin or further afield? At Wizer Energy, our team can talk you through all of the options available to you. Whether you’re looking to discuss the technology in more detail or need advice on calculating your energy needs, our friendly team is here to help.  

Looking for more ways to reduce your energy consumption? At Wizer Energy, you’ll find a full range of energy-efficient solutions and renewable alternatives. Talk to us today about EV charger installation, including the Zappi charger in Ireland. Want to learn more? Use the online contact form to get in touch, or call us at +353 83 080 0855. 

Author Bio

Martin Desmond

Martin is the Managing Director of Wizer Energy, with 30 years of experience in commercial and industrial electrical work. He has won awards in the commercial wiring arena and went on to study and train as an electrical engineer, preparing a PhD study in the area of Future Smart Microgrids. Since the late 1990s, Martin has had a keen interest in green and renewable energy, now utilised by working in the solar panel industry. After a life-changing injury from a fall at a height in 2007, Martin overcame it with a voltage generator embedded within his body. Being a qualified electrician since the 90’s, an electrical engineer since 2012, and utilising electricity generated within his own body, it’s hard to get more electrically qualified!

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