Average Annual Yield from Solar PV Panels
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Installing solar panels can be a big investment. Naturally, people are concerned whether solar panels will actually produce enough energy to make them cost efficient. One of the ways to determine this is to look at how much electricity a solar panel system will yield over a one year period.
It is very difficult to say exactly how much an individual system will yield over a year as there are many factors to consider. The size of the system, the location of the property, the angle and the efficiency of the panels will all affect how much electricity your solar panels will produce over a year. However, in order to show how solar panels can bring in a healthy return on investment we can use average figures to work out the estimated annual yield.
Studies show that an average family home uses about 4,800 kWhs of electricity every year. Most UK houses install a solar panel system between 3-4kW. This is because an average 3.5kW system will yield about 2,800 kWhs of electricity per year. Therefore, it is easy to see how you could start saving around 50% on your energy bills if you install solar panels, as over half of your energy needs could potentially be provided by the sun.
Solar Panel Yield
It is important to compare the average annual yield expected from solar panels when you are receiving installation quotes. Not only can the annual yield show you how much of your yearly electricity usage could be provided by the solar panels, it can also help you work out your financial return on investment. Annual yield can be looked at in terms of kWhs produced or in terms of total annual savings. The annual savings you could make from your solar panels are produced in two ways; through energy bill savings and payments from the government’s Feed-in Tariff incentive.
Calculate Annual Yield
The feed-in tariff offers rewards to households who invest in renewable energy in two ways. Firstly, you are paid for every kWh of clean energy you produce through your solar panels, even if you use it yourself. Secondly, any energy that you do not use can be sold back to the National Grid. These are called the generation tariff and export tariff, respectively.
The units used to discuss solar panel energy can make it very confusing when you are trying to find out the annual yield from your panels. Hopefully, this quick guide will help clarify the unit jargon;
kW or kilowatts are the amount of energy the solar panels can produce at any time. Therefore, a 4kW solar panel system has the potential to produce 4 kWs of energy at its maximum output.
kWh or kilowatt hours are the units used to describe how much power has actually been used. For example, if you used a 100W laptop for 10 hours you would have used 1 kWh of electricity. kWhs are important because they are the units used by energy companies to calculate your bills. Energy companies charge customers per kWh for using their electric or gas. Therefore, we use kWhs to describe solar panel output so that you can directly compare usage and cost figures against traditional energy methods.
£ Solar panel annual yields can also be discussed in terms of money. This figure is usually the amount of money you would have saved over a year through energy bill savings and feed-in payments.
Factors to consider
When you are considering installing solar panels, the predicted annual yield of the panels becomes one of many factors to consider. The cost and space involved in the solar installation should also be a top consideration. Remember that most figures are based on averages as the specific costs and yields will depend on your individual property and circumstances.
Most of the figures used to demonstrate typical annual yields have been calculated using an average 3.5kW system. However, this may not be the best system size for your property. For example, if you live alone or as a couple then you will probably not need a 3.5kW panel to meet your energy needs.
If you are interested in gaining the maximum return on investment you could still consider a larger system as the excess energy will be sold back to the grid and may provide you with a faster profit.