How Much Electricity Does the Average Solar Panel System Generate?

A typical residential solar panel installation working at peak efficiency will provide up to 3,400kWh of clean electricity per year.

Solar panels will help reduce your electricity bills by around 50%. You will also earn money through the government’s feed-in tariff.

To start generating your own power, simply fill out the form at the top of the page to get a bespoke solar panel quote from a trusted MCS installer in your area.

What Is the Typical Output of a Solar Panel?

Each solar panel system is different, so to give you the best idea of just how much electricity can be generated, let’s take a look at the facts for average domestic solar panel systems:

  • Domestic systems tend to range from 1 kilowatt (kW) to 5kW in size.
  • A typical 1 kW system can produce roughly 850kW units per year, a 2kW system would create around 1,700kW units and a 5kW system would create 4,500kW units.
  • The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a typical 3-bedroom house in the UK would use just over 3,000kW units in a year. So, in theory a 4kW or 5kW system would cover your entire electricity requirement.
  • However, the Feed-in Tariff pays the highest rates for systems smaller than 4kW.

Typical System Size:
Typical Annual Output:
Estimated Cost:
First Year Earnings:
Profit over 20 Years:
850 kWh
1,700 kWh
2,550 kWh
3,400 kWh

How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce?

Typically, a 3kW to 4kW solar panel system will produce enough energy for a family sized home, while a 2kW to 3kW will typically be the right size for a smaller household.

An average 4 kW solar panel system will generate around 3,400kWh of free electricity a year. That’s enough electricity to individually power:

  • 4,857 hours of the washing machine
  • 97,143 hours of the fridge
  • 1,880 hours of boiling the kettle
  • 1,417 hours of the oven

Find out how much solar panels would cost for your home - including potential savings - by telling us your average monthly electricity bill and we'll help you find a trusted local supplier to give you an accurate figure.

How much could you save with Solar Panels? What's your average monthly electricity bill?

What Factors Determine the Amount of Electricity That You Can Produce?

The amount of electricity your solar panels produce depends on four key factors. Dan Tobin, founder of The Eco Experts, explains these four key factors in the video below:

Click here to read the video transcript

Video Transcript

Rising energy bills are causing more and more homeowners to install solar panels. This is hardly surprising as they allow the average household to reduce their energy bills by around 50%, and receive tax free cash payments over 20 years through the Government’s Feed-in Tariff.

Just how much electricity you will generate through solar panels depends on four key factors: the size of the solar panel system, the direction and angle of your roof, the level of shading your roof has and the time of year.

Size of Solar Panel System
Typical domestic solar panel systems range from 2kw to 4kw. The size that would be best for you depends on your household’s energy requirement; the bigger the system the more energy it will produce. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a typical three bedroom house in the UK would use around 3,000 kW units a year, so a 3 to 4kW system would be the right size in this scenario.

Direction and Angle of your Roof
The direction and angle of your roof will also impact the amount of electricity your solar panels generate. Your roof should ideally be facing South, South-West or South-East, but West or East roof’s are feasible. Ideally, the angle of your roof should be between 10 degrees and 60 degrees too.

Shading Roof
The level of shading your roof has is another factor to consider. Shading has a detrimental affect on the electricity your system generates so if your roof is permanently in the shade then roof mounted solar panels probably won’t be for you. If your roof is partially shaded in the early morning or late evening, solar panels will still generate acceptable yields.

Time of Year
The time of year will also impact the amount of electricity your panels generate. Solar panels produce energy all year round, even in winter as solar panels work on light not heat making the UK climate ideal.

However, as you can see, the shorter daylight hours during winter months mean the solar panels will produce proportionately less energy than summer months.

If you are not sure whether your property is suitable for solar panels, you can use our unique solar panel calculator to work out how much your property would generate by installing solar panels.

Join the thousands of UK homeowners who have used The Eco Experts to compare prices from trusted local installers. Simply fill out the form at the top of this page or click the link at the end of this video.

There are 4 key factors that will determine just how much electricity you can create with solar panels:

  • The size of the system is the most important factor of all. The typical domestic installation is a 3.5kW system, which is normally around 12 panels. A smaller 1kW domestic system is likely to be only 2 panels.
  • The direction that your roof faces and the angle of the roof comes next. For optimum performance, your panels will need to be on a 35-degree angle, facing south.
  • Having a roof that is not in the shade will increase the amount of electricity you are able to produce. Take a look at the handy table above, which shows you what output volume can be expected from a domestic solar installation.
  • The time of year will also have an impact. During longer daylight hours in the summer you will be able to produce proportionally more power. That said, it’s important to remember solar panels work from light not heat so will still produce energy all year round.

Request a Free Solar Panel Quote

Click your location on the map below to get a free quote from a trusted MCS accredited solar panel installer in your area.

How Will You Know How Much Electricity Your Solar Panels Generate?

Your solar panels will come with a meter that will be placed in an accessible location within your home. This meter will record the amount of electricity being produced by the solar panels as well as how much electricity is exported back to the grid. This will allow you to work out how much you will be paid through the Government’s Feed-in Tariff.

Increasingly, solar manufacturers are also developing online monitoring tools allowing you to access your solar panel’s performance online via your computer or smartphone app.

As solar panels require virtually no maintenance and automatically power your home with free electricity, it can sometimes be easy to forget about them. However, we recommend checking your meter monthly to ensure all is working as intended.

Back to top

Using Your Free Electricity

To get the most out of the free electricity your solar panels produce, you will want to ensure that you use appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners during the day when the panels will be producing free energy.

You will also want to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible to get the most out of your free energy. Steps, such as using energy saving bulbs, only boiling the amount of water you need, ensuring devices are turned off and not on standby, and only using the washing machine for a full load, will make a big difference.

You can also install a solar battery with your solar panels. A solar battery will store excess electricity generated that is not required immediately in your home. This energy can then be used when your home energy demand is higher than the amount being produced by your solar panels.

Efficiency of Solar Panels

There are a few factors that can affect the efficiency of a solar installation on your property. No doubt your installer will be more than happy to give you an idea of the output that you, personally, can expect. But for now, here are some general key factors that you should be considering:

Direction and the angle of the roof
The positioning is crucial for successful solar panel installations in the UK. Those that are south facing are considered best, although they can still be very effective facing south-west or south-east.

It is a common misconception that solar panels work from the sun’s heat. In truth it’s actually sunlight that is most important. Solar panels can even overheat if it is too hot, causing them to work less efficiently. Most solar panel systems need to be installed a few inches above the roof, allowing enough air flow to cool them down. This is where the cool UK climate actually works to our advantage.

In essence the less shade the better. If it is possible to install your panels where there is no shade, then you will certainly make the most out of going solar. You can always ask your installer to give you an assessment of how shade will affect your properties solar performance, if you are unsure.

Your panels will need to be cleaned and maintained. This is neither a frequent nor complicated process and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either! Chat to your installer about a complete service package and you’ll get a good idea of price.

Click here to learn more about efficiency of solar panels

What Else Should You Consider?

Solar Panels

  • No doubt installation costs are a worry to you, as is the way for many people. Although the cost has fallen substantially, it is still around £6500 for the average 3kW domestic installation. But bear in mind that this will repay itself over a period of time. There are schemes that offer free solar panels, but the installer will keep the Feed-In Tariff payments.
  • Consider the period of time you intend on staying at your property. It’s important to get the most out of the Feed-In Tariff, so you will want to be sure that you intend to stay in your property for several years at least. Although you will benefit from lower energy bills from the beginning, which is an added bonus, the Feed-in Tariff is the main financial reward for installing solar panels.
  • Ensure that you are realistic about what you can earn from your property. The only way to truly understand your home's potential is to have an installer survey your home. This can be done for free by completing the short form at the top of this page.

If you're interested in finding out how much electricity solar panels could generate for your home, it's worth getting a free no-obligation quote so you can weigh up the options. Just answer the question below to provide a couple of details and we'll match you with a trusted local installer.

How much could you save with Solar Panels? What's your average monthly electricity bill?

Spread the Word!