When homeowners and businesses receive proposals for a new solar panel system, there may be a few terms and wording that need further explanation. One question our solar consultants routinely receive is “How is the size of a solar installation measured?” For instance, if a solar consultant gives you a quote for a 4 kW solar panel system, how much energy will that installation actually generate?
Solar panel systems are sized in kW (kilowatts) with production reported in kWh (kilowatt hours). kW sizing is how much energy the solar panels will optimally produce in an hour of direct sunlight with perfect conditions. As an example, 10 400 Watt DC panels would be considered a 4 kW system. If that system took in 1,000 hours of direct sunlight in a year, then the system should produce roughly 4,000 kWh of electricity.
Factors That Negatively Impact Power Generation
Solar panel systems usually generate more energy in the summer and less energy in the winter. Inclement weather can also negatively impact solar production, including rain, snow and cloudy days.
Clipping can also negatively impact how much usable power that your solar panel system produces. Solar clipping happens when your panels provide more power than the inverter or microinverters can handle. The DC electricity that solar panels generate must be converted to AC electricity for use by your lights, appliances and electronics. If your system has been sized properly, you won’t lose out on much of the energy your solar panels produce when it is converted from DC to AC.
How your solar panel system is orientated can make a negative impact on energy production. Systems orientated due south as opposed to facing the west, east or north will receive more sun exposure and generally produce more electricity. Also, if nearby trees shade any part of your roof or ground mount, that can also lower power production.
A Qualified Solar Consultant can Give You More Accurate Information
Keep in mind, reporting solar panel installation size in kW is just a base-level way to explain the size of a system. With so many factors playing a role in the amount of energy your system actually produces, it’s important to speak with a knowledgable solar consultant before making any decisions. Not all roofs or pieces of land make efficient sites for a solar panel system. Our consultants can look at all of the factors of your situation and present you a full report of how much energy a proposed system should generate and how much money you’ll save. They can help you size your solar panel system and figure out how many kWh you’ll need to produce to make financial sense. You can reach out for a free solar analysis of your home or business here or give us a call at (785) 371-1198.
Our mission at Good Energy Solutions is to provide our customers with honest, real solutions to reduce their fossil fuel consumption and lower their long term energy costs. Our combination of hands-on experience, education, and outstanding customer service make our company the clear choice to help you achieve your energy goals.
Founded in 2007 by Kevin and Shana Good, Good Energy Solutions has earned a reputation for our expert reliable service, long workmanship warranties, and quality commercial and residential solar installations.
We are engineers and craftsmen designing for efficiency while keeping aesthetics and longevity in mind. Because of our installation quality and customer service, Good Energy Solutions' solar panel systems feature some of the longest product and service warranties in Kansas and Missouri. Also, we have more NABCEP® Certified Solar Professionals on staff than any other company in Kansas or Missouri. To achieve this certification, PV installers must demonstrate that they possess extensive solar PV installation experience, have received advanced training, and passed the rigorous NABCEP certification exam.
If you would like to know more about solar power for your home or business, contact us here.