Are you wondering “how much does a 12kW solar system produce?” Does it generate 12,000 watt-hours as expected? Or is its output slightly different? What factors can impact a solar system’s power output? These questions are all valid, and we will answer all of them in this article.
Learning a solar panel system’s power output can help you make the necessary changes to make energy generation more efficient. This article will give you a heads-up on how variable solar systems are in energy generation.
How Much Energy Does a 12,000-watt Solar Panel System Produce?
Under ideal conditions – extended bright sunlight, high solar panel efficiency, and optimum solar panel orientation – a 12,000-watt solar system can produce 12,000 watts of alternating current (AC) electricity.
Some solar panel systems can even generate up to 1,800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) every month, translating to 60,000 watts every day.
Unfortunately, we do not live in laboratory-controlled environments. Hence, how much power does a 12kW solar system produce varies. Some households might only get half the solar system’s rated power generation or a maximum of 75 percent.
How Can You Calculate the Solar Panel System’s Power Output?
There is a simple formula for determining how many watts a 12kW solar system produce per day. You can use this technique to calculate the power output of any solar panel.
First, determine the average sunlight hours in your location before multiplying it by the solar panel’s power rating (in watts). Next, multiply the result by 75% to obtain the daily watt-hours the solar system produces.
We use 75% to account for solar panel efficiency fluctuations, sunlight exposure changes, and other variables.
It would be wise to check your state’s average sunlight hours, or you can observe a daily average for 30 days. New Mexico has the highest average sunlight hours in the US with 6.77 hours, followed by Arizona (6.57 hours), Nevada (6.41 hours), Wyoming (6.06 hours), and Hawaii (6.02 hours).
Suppose your 12kW solar system with battery storage features 200-watt panels and the average sunlight hours in your location is five hours. In that case, we can multiply five hours by 200 watts to get 1,000 watts. Multiplying this by 75% gives us 750 watt-hours per panel.
Hence, each solar panel in your 12kW solar system produces about 750 watt-hours per day. Since you have 60 solar panels comprising the 12kW solar array, multiplying 750 watt-hours by 60 gives us 45,000 watt-hours or 45 kWh per day.
What Factors Impact a Solar Panel System’s Power Generation?
Solar panel manufacturers test their products under controlled conditions.
Companies assume that solar panel users install their systems in an area where each photovoltaic cell receives 1,000 watts of direct sunlight for every square mile. They also presuppose that the average environmental temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sadly, not everyone enjoys these ideal conditions. Some people might live in colder regions where the daytime temperature barely reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The sunlight energy might also be less than 1 kW per square mile.
It would be best to examine a few solar panel attributes that affect how many kWh does a 12kW solar system produce.
Solar Panel Type
Solar panels come in at least three types: thin-film, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline.
Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels often have silicon semiconductors.
As the name implies, monocrystalline photovoltaic cells come from pure silicon crystals. Because they come from a single silicon crystal, monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient and perform exceptionally well.
On the other hand, polycrystalline solar panels feature silicon crystal fragments molded together before wafer formation. Their construction makes polycrystalline solar panels less efficient than monocrystalline photovoltaic cells.
Thin-film PV cells feature non-silicon semiconductors, such as cadmium telluride, amorphous silicon, and copper indium gallium selenide. Their principal advantage is flexibility and portability, allowing you to mold them on vehicles or any surface.
You can say a 12kW off grid solar system with monocrystalline solar panels produces more energy for your home than either polycrystalline PV cells or thin-film panels.
Solar Panel Efficiency
A solar panel’s power generating capability does not end with its type. As mentioned, its efficiency is also crucial. A photovoltaic cell must transform light energy into usable electricity. Unfortunately, solar panels have varying efficiency ratings.
A photovoltaic cell with 15% efficiency will only convert 15% of light energy into DC electricity. If your 12kW solar system is only 15% efficient, it would be challenging to generate its rated power.
On the other hand, newer solar panels can have an efficiency rating of 22.3%.
Several factors can impact a solar panel’s efficiency. Shade, cloud cover, snow, dirt, dust, and pollution can undermine the photovoltaic cell’s power generation capability. That is why periodic maintenance and correct solar panel positioning are crucial to generating as much power as possible.
Solar Panel Location and Orientation
We mentioned that solar panel manufacturers test their products in controlled environments. That is why the solar panel’s location and orientation are crucial.
Experts recommend an ideal solar panel angle of 37 degrees with a south-facing orientation. If you live in the north, it would be best to orient the solar panels at a 60-degree angle in the winter and 45 degrees in the spring.
The idea is to position the solar panels perpendicular to the sun’s rays. That is why some people also integrate movable platforms to change the solar panel’s tilt as the day progresses.
You will want the solar panels to collect as much sunlight as possible to produce as much electricity for your home as possible.
There are no concrete answers to the question, “how much does a 12kW solar system produce?” Everything depends on several factors, including the solar panel’s efficiency rating and the location’s average sunlight hours.
As a rule, the higher the value of these parameters, the greater the solar panel’s power output. Hence, a 12kW solar system can produce more than 12,000 watt-hours per day, or it might not.