Solar Panel Output

solar panel output

Today we’re going to help you answer the all-important question, how much energy does a solar panel produce? Finding the answer to this question serves as a vital part of achieving optimum energy output and ensuring that you weigh up your budget properly before a solar array purchase.

We’ll provide you with the equation needed to crack the energy requirement “code” for your specific place of residence or work in conjunction with providing you with a full rundown of how this equation was formed and why it’s so accurate. Ready to find out exactly how much you need to spend to adequately fulfil the utility requirements of your chosen location? Read on for everything you need to know for total enlightenment.

The Power Output of Solar Panels

Calculating solar panel output is a vital part of the solar technology purchase process because without it, you quite simply won’t have any idea exactly how much power you’re going to produce. It all starts with something known as wattage, which is essentially an energy capacity rating. You’ll see this listed next to a piece of solar panel technology in the form of a number followed by the letter W. It can either be listed as “320w” or “320 Watts” depending on the manufacturer.

This is the starting number you need to use to start piecing together the formula for calculating precisely how many panels you’ll need to purchase from your intended manufacturer or brand. It’s important to note that regardless of the figure listed for your solar panel wattage, how much of this wattage you’re going to physically access will depend almost entirely on where and how your panels are located.

Your solar panel power output, or that is to say your solar power potential, is all about maximum photon ray uptake. Because the cells rely on the absorption and redistribution of sun rays, this means that your panels need to be in a position where they can access them optimally. Should this not be the case, then regardless of the power capacity rating of your individual components, the truth is that you simply can’t fulfil your maximum solar potential.

Provided your solar array is placed in an ideal location all you then need to think about is how much solar energy you need based on the wattage of your panels to meet your daily energy requirements (this in turn is calculated by something known as electrical load). When you know what your electrical load is, it’s then time to calculate your solar panel power output.

How to Measure Solar Output

This is the part where we’re going to help you determine exactly how much energy your desired solar panels are going to be capable of producing on an average day. As we’ve previously stated, this starts with the wattage rating of your panels as a base figure. The next important figure we need is the number of daylight hours you typically have based on your location over the course of an average day. A quick Internet search will typically help you to discern what this number is.

We’ll use a state like California as the basis for our example calculation because it has a nice average daylight sun hour number of five, which is quite a nice, easy, round figure to work with! Let’s now also imagine that you’re going to be using solar panels with a 320 watt output. To determine your solar panel output, you simply need to take your daylight hour number of five and multiply it by the wattage number for your panels, which in this instance is 320. So your equation would be 5×320, which equals 1,600 watts.

The true figure we’re looking to work with is the overall kilowatt count and rating for your solar array. In this instance using our example calculation, we’ve got a daily kilowatt rating of 1,600. Using this figure, you can then figure out your yearly requirements. To do this, simply take your solar panels watt output in kilowatts (1600 in this instance) and multiply it by 365 to arrive at your yearly kilowatt potential. Using the above numbers our formula would be 1600×365 which would yield an output of 584kw (kilowatts) per year.

Provided you know what your overall electrical load is, then you should immediately know whether or not this is going to be enough power to meet your needs. Just as a general rule of thumb, most average household items could run off of a rating at this level.

Factors That Affect Solar Output

There are several factors that can impact solar output which are as follows:

Efficiency Rating

The efficiency rating of a panel relates directly to the percentage of sunlight that your panels can absorb and use. The best panels can absorb anywhere between 14 – 18% of the incoming photon rays from the sun.

STC Maximum Power

This is simply the maximum power potential of your panel when it’s operating at full capacity. It’s important to determine that the STC rating matches the quoted wattage rating of the panel because the two should be one and the same.

Power Tolerance

The tolerance of your panel determines how much the true wattage value of the panel overall varies from the figure quoted in the STC. Should your wattage fluctuate either positively or negatively, this means it may produce either less or more power than the stated figure.

NOCT Maximum Power Rating

This figure represents the maximum power at which your cells are able to operate when they’re being tested in less than ideal temperature conditions to ensure that they’re still as efficient as possible if you experience highly adverse weather. A figure of 70-75% NOCT functionality is ideal.


You’ll need to know the voltage of your system if it isn’t directly linked to a grid because you’ll need to ensure that your chosen inverter is up to the task of powering the cell array. If it isn’t, your maximum output will be reduced. All of the above areas can impact your overall output capacity.


Now that you’ve read through to the end of today’s post, you should have a full understanding of how solar output is a massively important metric and formula to consider when choosing the right solar panel array. Through determining what your solar output is, you’ll then know exactly what type of solar array you need to fulfil your residential and business related utility needs. It always pays to calculate accurately in advance to maximise long term savings.

All solar technology is a pathway to green and renewable energy that’s sure to provide you with enormous cost savings and satisfaction in the long run. It’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as a “bad” solar panel, but there is such a thing as bad calculations! If you get your output calculations right, then you’re going to have nothing but a positive and efficient solar experience.

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