By now, you’ve probably noticed that each brand of solar panels produces different amounts of power, or wattage. Your solar contractor has presented various options and recommended a certain amount of energy output based on your energy needs. You may be wondering why there are so many options for solar panels in your area. This short guide will help you understand what solar panel energy output means for your home and will help you get the most out of your solar panels.
Solar Panel Energy Output
You already know that solar panels come with different wattage or power output. You will see it listed as 200W or 300W, for example, next to a solar panel’s name. That number will tell you the amount of energy the solar panel can generate for your home under ideal conditions—like ample sunlight on a south-facing roof and the right temperatures. You can use the wattage on different solar panels to get a better understanding of how different energy outputs will affect the number of solar panels it will take to power your home.
How Do Solar Panels Produce Energy?
When the sunlight hits your solar panels, that energy is converted into direct currents (DC). The DC current then travels through a solar power inverter, which converts the DC energy into alternating currents (AC), which is what powers your home. When the sun is shining, your home is utilizing the energy from your solar panels to power itself. The watts each solar panel produces—which are converted into AC power for your home—are tracked by your city’s electric company and applied to your energy bill using a net meter.
Tracking Solar Energy
The solar energy produced by your solar panels is tracked using a net meter, which is a second meter that your solar panel contractor will attach to your home after your solar panels are installed. The way it works is fairly simple: any excess energy produced by your solar panels flows back into your city’s power grid for others to use. During periods of high-energy use, solar panels take some of the strain off of the local power grid.
What Solar Panel Output Means For Your Home
The output of energy produced by your solar panels can lower your energy bills dramatically and free up energy for your neighbors. If you’re off-grid, your solar contractor will connect your solar panels, and the inverters, to a generator. Your home’s power will come from the solar panels during the day. On days with little to no direct sunlight, or during the night, your generator will continue to power your home using stored energy produced by the solar panels.
In addition to lowering your energy bills and reducing the strain on your local power grid, installing solar energy equipment also raises the value of your home— which means your solar panels continue working for you even if you choose to move out of your home.