Likely kWh per sq ft from Solar Panels

How It Works

Solar power is used to convert the sun's rays into pollution-free electricity through the means of a photovoltaic cell solar panel. Thanks to technological advances, solar power is now available to residential areas, businesses and industry buildings. The photovoltaic cells found in solar panels directly convert sunlight into energy. These cells are primarily made in silicon and arranged in rectangular panels. Sunlight flows through the cells, creating a DC current, which is then converted to an AC current for personal use.

What to Expect

The average number of kWH per square foot produced by solar panels depends largely on the efficiency of the solar panel. Solar panel efficiency indicates the amount of energy produced in proportion to the amount of energy available to the device. This is dictated partly by the quality of the solar panels themselves and partly by geographical factors. Geographical areas with a lower equivalent of midday sun over an average day of each month will achieve less solar panel efficiency. Various methods can be used to capture more of the sun's energy. For example, mounting a solar panel at an angle tilted towards the sun can capture more sunlight and therefore generate more power. However, as an average figure, today's solar panels operate at 8-15% efficiency, producing an average of 8-10 watts per hour (0.008-0.010 kW) per square foot of solar panel. Generally, a solar panel system provides output for around 5 hours per day.

Advantages

The main advantage of solar power is that it is a clean, renewable and pollution-free source of energy. Sunlight is free and inexhaustible. Solar power can also be an excellent supplement to other sources of renewable energy, such as wind power. The uses of solar power are versatile; the electricity produced from solar panels can be used in a wide variety of circumstances, from satellites to solar cars. With a suitable amount of sunlight received, solar panels can greatly reduce household electricity bills.

Disadvantages

Solar panels are often quite expensive; although the cost of installing solar panels in the home has decreased in recent years, it is still initially far more costly than other sources of electricity. Their reliability also cannot be guaranteed unless you live in a very sunny climate. In the United Kingdom, solar power isn't much use for applications that require a large amount of power, and you will require a large amount of roof space to achieve a decent energy output. However, solar power is still efficient in reducing household fuel costs.

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