How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce per Square Meter?

Solar Energy Produced per Square Meter:

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Solar panels are heading to the forefront of modern technology regarding renewable energy and cost-saving electricity generation. By transforming the sun's thermal energy into usable energy, solar panels can limit the use of fossil fuels and other environmentally hazardous energy sources around the world.

But how many will you need to buy to get your desired energy output?

Solar panels produce about 150 watts of energy per square meter since most solar panels operate at 15% efficiency this translates to 15 watts per square foot.

Solar energy is widely available and is use for different purposes like warming and keeping cool houses, provide light to public spaces, and even power high-capacity commercial buildings when installed in relatively sunny locations. To learn more about how solar panels work and how much energy they produce per square meter, continue reading below.

Solar Energy per Square Meter:


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Regardless of their exact material makeup, most solar power panels tend to operate at a total of 15% efficiency. With a lifespan of around 20 years, this means that they typically produce around 150 watts of energy per square meter, or 15 watts per square foot.

Since each residential home has around 100 square feet of solar panels installed, this equals 1,500 watts of total energy, 15watts in sq feet, and 150 watts in sq meter. To put that number in perspective, consider that running an electric ceiling fan for 12 hours per day, every day of the week, only requires about 46 watts per month.

To calculate the true efficiency of your solar panel’s solar cells for more accurate energy estimations, you can use the following equation:

Efficiency = Pout / Pin. To calculate Pin (input power)


Factors That Affect Solar Energy Produced per Square Meter:

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Regardless of the type of solar panels you choose to use, it is crucial to understand that there are many outlying factors and uncontrollable weather patterns that can affect both the electricity amount and the performance of your solar panels. These include:


  • Orientation of the tilt: If your solar panels are tilted facing directly north or south, they might not experience as much sun exposure as solar panels facing straight up or tiling to the east or west.
  • Pollution: Cities and regions with extreme amounts of pollution, such as valleys that experience emissions inversions or metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, might not receive the same amount of energy from their solar panels as places with cleaner air.
  • Regional location: It is best to install solar panels in a region that experiences warm weather throughout the year.
  • Time: The amount of time you’ve had your solar panels will dictate how much energy reserve you can accumulate.
  • Weather: On particularly cloudy, stormy, or rainy days, your solar panels will generate less power.

If you keep these factors in mind when installing your solar panels, you will be able to make informed choices and create realistic expectations for the amount of energy your solar panels will be able to produce.


Solar Energy Produced per Square Meter Effecting Electric Bills:

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If you have solar panels installed on your home that generate electricity, this electricity will most likely contribute to lowering your electric bill.


Calculation:

By using the number of kilowatt-hours produced by your solar panels and subtracting that number from any kilowatt-hours you may have used from the general power grid, you will receive a final billing number at the end of every billing cycle.

  • If you have generated more electricity than you use, your power bill will reflect zero payments due..0
  • If you have leftover power that you don’t use during a billing cycle, it will roll over to power your home for the next cycle until you no longer have a surplus of generated solar energy.
  • If you are left with kilowatt-hour credits at the end of the year, ask your city about money-back programs in exchange for your solar power.

When filing taxes each year, those using solar power on their homes or businesses can receive a federal tax credit of up to 30 percent.


What’s in a Solar Panel, and How That Affects Efficiency of Energy Produced per Sq Meter:
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image on Flickr by Avinash Kaushik under license

Solar panels are created out of a material that converts regular light from the sun into usable electricity. This material is a semiconductor commonly known as silicon. In addition to silicon, some solar panels are also made of cadmium telluride, with new solar panel materials being invented and tested each year.

Silicon Wafer Technology:

The most common material for solar panels to be made of is silicone. This silicone comes in the form of monocrystalline and polycrystalline wafer panels. To make one of these silicon wafer panels, little slabs of silicon are placed in columns and tidy rows to make the shape of a rectangle. This rectangle is then fitted overhead with a glass sheet and secured with a frame-like device.

Most silicon wafer solar panels made from monocrystalline look like small and flat black building blocks. Due to the way that the sun’s light beams down on them, depending on the time of day and how it responds to the pure silicon crystal material, they can often look somewhat black, gray, or charcoal colored.

Cadmium Telluride:

When it comes to thinner solar panels called thin-films, cadmium telluride (CdTe) is the material of choice. Unlike monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels, these cadmium telluride panels are created by placing a thin transparent layer of CdTe in between conducting layers. This helps the conducting layers attract more sunlight molecules. On top of the conducting layers and cadmium telluride insets typically sits a pane of glass for protection from dirt and other weather elements.

Cadmium telluride has become a favorite material for homeowners in communities with Homeowner Associations or gated residences because the flat and thin technology allows for a more discreet solar panel aesthetic. Since the cells inside of each CdTe panel are slimmer than silicon solar panels by about 350 times, they are less easily seen from street level.

Benefits of Different Solar Panel Types:

There are a few different kinds of solar panels with varying degrees of efficiency and aesthetic appeal. Some of the benefits and characteristics of these different solar panel types include:

  • Monocrystalline silicon

     High efficiency/performance

     Higher costs for a longer lifespan

     Low cost

  • Polycrystalline silicon

     Lower cost for lower efficiency and performance

     Fast installation

  • Thin-film or cadmium telluride

     Portable and easy to move

     Flexible and lightweight

     Discreet appearance

     Lack aesthetic to match dark rooftops

     Lowest efficiency with low cost


While each of these three solar panel types has both pros and cons, they are all considered highly effective at harnessing the sun’s energy and turning it into reliable and usable energy for residential and commercial properties alike.


Final Conclusion: Money-Back Earth-Friendly Power

Solar panels are not only convenient for their ability to save money and remove dependency on the power grid, but they are also beneficial to the health of the environment. Whether you are considering solar panels for your home or your commercial business, remember that at nearly 150 watts per square meter of clean energy, a 15% efficiency rate, and a total solar panel lifespan of around 20 years, solar panels can pay off in more ways than one.

How to Check If Solar Panel Is Charging Battery ?

Ways to check if solar panel is charging battery:


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Image on Flickr by Hepburn Wind under license


One of the most important things in owning a solar panel is to make sure that the solar panel itself is charging the battery correctly. As environmental-friendly practices become an integral part of everyday society, many have looked into solar panels for a solution to an energy source.

 

Owning and installing solar panels is one thing, but to make sure they function and charge properly is another. Therefore, this article will provide several tips to make sure that your solar panel is charging your battery correctly. 


This will include checking the battery, the solar panel, solar regulator, solar panel inverter, and finally, the wirings.



1) Checking the battery:


Battery:Corrosions,Disconnections,and Measuring Voltage


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Image on Flickr by Ajay Tallam under license

If you have a home solar panel system, then you will likely have a battery that will store power from your solar panel.

 

Measuring the voltage in your battery is vital to know if your solar panel is properly charging and storing energy.

 

 Below are steps to follow:

 

  • Always make sure that the wires from your solar panel are disconnected before measuring the voltage of the battery. Once you measure the voltage, write what is displayed by the multimeter on paper.
  • Next, reconnect the wires of the solar panel to the battery so it can charge the battery throughout the day. At least leave the solar panel to charge the battery for a few hours. Afterward, measure the voltage again and compare it to the previous voltage measurement you made before reconnecting the wires.
  • Your solar panel is charging properly once you see that the voltage of the battery has increased compared to the previous notes you made. The increase in voltage indicates that the solar panel is charging the battery properly.
  • Another common issue to look out for is loose battery connections or corrosion. For loose battery connections, simply reattach and make sure it is not loose anymore. For corrosion issues, make sure you thoroughly clean them and then clamp them properly once more.

 

Always make sure to maintain the quality of your battery by adequately cleaning it of any build-ups and dirt. If the battery is installed outside, be sure to have a cover to keep it away from extreme weather and conditions.

 

2) Checking the solar panel:


The Solar Panel: Check for Damages and Measuring Voltage


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The solar panel itself is the primary and most important component of the whole solar panel system.

 

Below are steps to make sure that your solar panels are functioning properly.

 

  • Place your multimeter’s red probe on your solar panel’s positive terminal as well as your multimeter’s black probe on your solar panel’s negative terminal. One of the best times while doing this is to see If there is sunshine directly on the front of the solar panel.
  • When your solar panel is in direct contact with the sunlight, the meter should display a DC voltage between 10 volts to18 volts. The voltage display means that the solar panel is working correctly and can continue to charge the battery or any equipment it is connected to.
  • If the multimeter does not display any voltage measurements, then make sure to carefully check that each of the connections on your solar panels is in place.

 

If you have double-checked the connections on your solar panels and everything seems like they are in their place, then most likely, your solar panel needs repair.

 

Also, be aware if there are any physical damages to the solar panel. Since solar panels are placed outside, several factors can damage your solar panel, such as:

 

  • Physical Damages from Animals
  • Falling Debris from Storms
  • Hail Storm

 

When you live in an environment with wildlife or that has strong weather conditions, make sure to constantly check your solar panel. Another idea is to put some form of protection, such as mesh fence cover, to keep your solar panels safe from the aforementioned.


3) Checking Solar Regulator:


The Solar Regulator: Faulty Regulator Stops Current


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Image on Flickr by Mike Lee under license

The primary function of solar regulators is to maintain stability and regulate the current from the solar panel to the batteries without overcharging and damaging them. Additionally, a solar regulator will help to monitor if the batteries are fully charged. Once it is, the solar regulator will automatically stop or decrease the amount of current flowing from the solar panel.

Checking a Faulty Regulator:

The easiest way to see if your solar regulator is faulty or not is by disconnecting the solar regulator from the solar panel and the battery. Afterward, directly connect the solar panel to the battery. If you can measure current from the solar panel directly to the battery, then it is highly likely that your solar regulator is faulty.


4) Checking solar panel inverter:


The Solar Panel Inverter: Check the Lights!

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The primary purpose of the solar inverter is to convert the solar energy generated by your solar panels from DC to AC so that your home and utility grid can use the power produced by it.

Checking your solar panel’s inverter is incredibly simple since it has a display to show you if there are errors. To check on your solar panel’s inverter, look at the colors lighting up on the display during daylight hours. This is when the system is meant to be operating.

Checking for a Faulty Solar Panel Inverter:

For the most part, the solar panel’s inverter will display three colors that will indicate the status of performance. Below are the colors as well as the descriptions, which are:


  • Green: Solar Panel Inverter Functioning Properly and Operating
  • Blinking Green: Low Light/Stand By
  • No Color: No Light (Night, Storm, Blizzard, etc.)

Orange/Orange/Yellow: Inverter not operating properly, hence, error code. Make sure to call the manufacturer or technician if this color does occur/

If your inverter displays the Error Code colors, then the issue can originate from the inverter itself or anything connected with it. This includes:

  • Solar Panel
  • Wiring
  • Battery
  • Solar Regulator

If you checked everything above and there were no issues, then the problem originates from its inverter.

What is helpful when checking on your inverter is to have a diagram of it. The inverter diagram will display all the contact points to check on. Do this by testing the voltage. If the contact points seem good, move on to the rest of the components until you find the weak point. Afterwards, purchase a spare part for it and change or replace the component.


5) Checking The Wirings:


The Solar Panel Wiring: Damages or Misconnections

 

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Once you concluded that the solar panel is not the issue, you can now use your digital multimeter to measure the voltage on the wires where the solar panels are connected to the solar regulator and then the battery. This is to test the current within the wires coming from the solar panel. But beforehand, make sure you have the wires disconnected from the regulator and the battery.

 

The digital multimeter measures the differences in voltage between the two wires. The measurements on the voltage should be approximately the same, if not a little less than what you measured on the solar panel.

 

If the case occurs where your digital multimeter does not show any voltage measurements, then double-check the wires and see if there are any damages to them or if they are connected to the wrong ports. Damages on the wires can significantly disrupt or completely halt the flow of the solar panel’s current.


Final Tools Required:


Digital Multimeters, Tools Used with Solar Panel Problems


The most common and easiest way to see if your solar panels are charging your batteries properly or if the rest of the solar panel components are working is to purchase a digital multimeter. A digital multimeter (also known as a multi-tester) is a device that can help you measure multiple electrical properties, such as voltages, resistance, and current of an electrical device or equipment.



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Below are some top multimeter brands that you can consider purchasing:



Now you want to use your digital multimeter to measure the voltage of your solar panel’s output. Do this by turning on your multimeter and adjust your multimeter’s dial setting. You will need this vital tool to check every component of your solar panel system.

 

Conclusion – Check the Battery, and Check Everything Else

 

When charging your battery with your solar panel is the issue, the problem might not be the battery. Since the full solar system panel comprises several components and devices, it is essential to check every single one of them for faulty issues.