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How Much Electricity Can Rooftop Solar Panels Generate

How Much Electricity Can Rooftop Solar Panels Generate in South Carolina

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How Much Electricity Can Rooftop Solar Panels Generate in South Carolina

The amount of usable electricity generated by rooftop solar panels depends heavily on the solar panel installation’s location, the amount of sun the panels will see, and the system’s size. If you’re interested in the cost of solar panel installations in South Carolina, you need to understand a few critical factors.

  1. The amount of electricity that can be generated by rooftop solar panels
  2. The number of solar panels you’ll need to cover your monthly electricity usage
  3. How much a solar system installation costs

Typically, you don’t have to worry about this. Your solar provider will use a solar kWh production calculator to ascertain the amount of energy generated by rooftop solar panels on your home and the number of solar panels your home will need.

However, if you want to know how they do calculate it, stick around. We’ll show you how. The key to determining how much electricity rooftop solar can generate in South Carolina is to look at the math. We need to know several things first, but it all starts with solar panels’ size and capabilities, plus the most essential ingredient for solar energy: the sun. 

What’s the Average Size of a Residential Rooftop Solar Panel?

Currently, the majority of rooftop solar panels are created using either polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar cells. When comparing the two, we see a couple of key differences. Monocrystalline solar panels are incredibly efficient, typically being more productive in electricity creation than their polycrystalline counterparts. That being said, their size difference is small, usually falling within only a 5% margin. So, no matter which you decide to use, your typical residential solar panel’s average size will fall in the range of 39 inches wide and 65 inches tall.

How Much Energy Does a Rooftop Solar Panel Produce in South Carolina?

In a time when the average electricity bill is on the rise, the great people of South Carolina need a more affordable option. That’s where solar panels come in. When discussing electricity produced by solar panels in South Carolina, we must first consider how much direct sunlight South Carolina receives. 

The Average Number of Sunny Days in South Carolina

If we look at a few different major cities in South Carolina, we see a significant trend. Charleston, SC receives an average of 211 days of sunshine, Columbia, SC receives an average of 218 days of sunshine, and Greer, SC receives an average of 221 days of sunshine. In total, according to a report on the average annual sunshine per state, South Carolina sees 64% sunshine and 115 clear days per year, and that’s not even considering the cloudy days when they get partial sunshine. This shows us that, statistically, South Carolina gets a lot of sun.

How Much Electricity Does a Solar Panel System Produce in South Carolina?

This is one of the most important questions consumers ask when considering using solar energy to power their homes. The answer depends on a solar panel’s output rating, which is the measurement of wattage created by a solar panel. When we’re talking about rooftop solar panels, though, we also have to consider how much electricity can be produced over a long period, which is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

The power output rating of a solar panel varies depending on different models. Still, this power rating is essential in determining how much solar energy is necessary to power a typical South Carolina home. Any given model’s output rating will tell you how much electricity can be generated from a rooftop solar panel.

Important note: A model’s power rating is determined based on a solar panel operating at standard testing conditions. Standard test conditions are when the cell temperature is 25C° or 77F°, and there’s one kilowatt per square meter of the sun shining on the solar panel.

Once you have this information, you can cross-reference this data with the statistical average on your electricity bill to determine how much wattage you need to power your home. Once you have that, you’re just a few simple math equations away from deciding how many individual solar panels you need to power your home.

Solar Panel Power Ratings in South Carolina – Which Should You Choose?

The standard output rating for solar panels in 2020 range from 275 to 400 watts of generated power, depending on the module and the types of solar cells used. These outputs are expected to increase over time. A year ago, a power rating of 400 watts was rare, but now they’re common commodities, and many solar companies have access to such high performing models.

As solar energy becomes more widespread, we see more technological advancements, and innovation has taken a front seat. In 2017, solar panels with a power rating of 250 watts were becoming standardized. Now, you won’t see very many companies on the market still using power ratings this low.

When you’re looking for solar panel systems and are curious about which you should choose, it’s best to go with higher power ratings, as they are much more efficient. The initial cost may be higher, but it’s ultimately an investment in your energy future.

How Much Energy is Created by Solar Panels Per Square Foot?

On top of knowing your solar panel’s power rating, this is another important question to ask when choosing solar power. For example, the average 300-watt solar panel with the dimensions around 17.31 square feet (64 inches by 39 inches) sold in the United States in 2020 produces 14.58 watts of power per square foot at peak solar power production levels.

This information is just as vital as a solar panel’s power rating because you’ll need this information to determine whether you enough space on your roof. Suppose you have limited space to install solar panels. In that case, you’ll need to select solar panel systems with high power ratings to create enough electricity to power your house or place of business.

Ask yourself these important questions:

  1. How much electricity do you need to produce with your solar panels? 
  2. How much sunlight does your roof receive?
  3. Is there anything blocking the sun from touching parts of your roof (i.e., trees or other houses and buildings)?

Once you have all this information, you’ll know how much space you have, how much electricity you need, and the power rating you should choose when selecting your solar power system.

Average Electricity Output for Solar Panels in South Carolina

The actual amount of energy created by a rooftop solar panel system per kWh depends on your solar panels’ power rating and the size of your solar panel system. Here are a few examples:

  • Solar Energy System Size – 4 kW Solar Energy System
    • Annual kilowatt-hours (kWh’s) of Solar Energy – 7,008 kWh
  • Solar Energy System Size – 5 kW Solar Energy System
    • Annual kilowatt-hours (kWh’s) of Solar Energy – 8,760 kWh
  • Solar Energy System Size – 6 kW Solar Energy System
    • Annual kilowatt-hours (kWh’s) of Solar Energy – 10,512 kWh
  • Solar Energy System Size – 10 kW Solar Energy System
    • Annual kilowatt-hours (kWh’s) of Solar Energy – 17,520 kWh

As you can tell, the larger your system’s capacity for creating energy, the more power you get. It’s as simple as that.

Key Things to Remember 

There are three factors to consider when determining the amount of electricity generated by a solar panel system.

Solar Panel Cell Efficiency

While solar panel sizes have remained relatively consistent over the decades of solar power innovation, solar panels’ efficiency rates have dramatically improved. In the 1950s, solar panels could only convert about 6% of the solar energy collected into electricity. With those numbers, a 60-cell panel could only generate about 20 watts of energy, which is barely enough to illuminate a light bulb.

Modern cells are now capable of capturing upwards of 20% of solar energy, which means that the same array of cells would create nearly 400 watts of energy today. That capability has drastically improved in the last 70 years.

The Size of the Solar Panels

Solar panels come in two different categories: 60-cell and 72-cell solar panel arrays. The average size of a 60-cell solar panel is roughly 5.4 ft tall and 3.25 ft wide, with a power output rate of between 270 watts and 300 watts under standard testing conditions. Thanks to innovation in the solar sector, we are beginning to see more efficient solar cells that can produce a power output rate of 300 to 350 watts of electricity.

A 72-cell solar panel is physically larger but generates 350 to 400 watts of electricity. That’s a significant difference, but it’s important to note that these modules are rarely used in residential solar systems because they’re more challenging to handle on a rooftop. These panels are more commonly found on large, utility-scale solar facilities. 

The Type of Solar Panel: Monocrystalline Versus Polycrystalline Versus Amorphous

Monocrystalline solar panels are the highest efficiency solar panel type, but they’re also the most expensive. The individual cells comprise pure silicon and go through a complicated process of growing long crystal silicon rods during construction. These rods are sliced into thin, almost see-through wafers that are then put together to create solar cells.

Polycrystalline solar panels are the most commonly used solar panels for residential solar panel systems. They’re less efficient than their mono counterparts but are more affordable. The solar cells for polycrystalline panels are made differently, and when they are placed together, they create an appearance mirroring shattered glass.

Amorphous solar panel systems are not created using crystals, like the other two. Instead, they are made by taking a thin layer of silicon and securing it to a base material, like glass or metal. These panels are the cheapest but also generate the least amount of electrical power. 

Final Thoughts

When determining how much electricity can be generated by solar panels in South Carolina, we needed to look at several different factors. 

We now know how much electricity can be generated from solar panels, how much sunlight hours South Carolina gets, and how effective solar energy can generate electricity. Given all this information, it’s easy to understand why solar power is becoming an energy leader in South Carolina.

If you’d like to get an estimate on how much it would cost to install solar energy for your home or have questions about how many panels you’d need to power your house, you might want to contact a solar installer and get a quote. They’ll conduct a thorough assessment of your home’s electricity needs and your roof and create a timeline for your solar system installation. They can also help you learn about South Carolina’s solar rebates and the cost of solar battery storage, and more. 

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