Considering how sunny Cairns is, it makes for the perfect spot for solar power generation. But does that mean solar panels in Cairns store and produce more energy?
If you are looking to install a solar power system, it is recommended that you take some time to understand what electrical energy output is beforehand. Power output is a crucial factor to consider when comparing and choosing your solar options.
Defining Energy Output
You may have had your solar power installer recommend a system that has a certain wattage, such as a 3.0 kW system. This power rating is the energy output, which is essentially the measure of how large your generation system is— not how much power it will produce, although they are still connected. Think of it as a car engine: the engine’s size provides you with an idea of how powerful it is but does not specify how much petrol it will use.
The actual power output from solar panels depends on the size of the system and several other factors, such as shade, orientation, and sun hours.
What Affects Solar Panel Energy Output?
Size / Rated Power
A large solar installation— which means higher kWs— will generate more energy. In line with our car engine analogy, a bigger engine can burn more fuel and produce more power than a smaller one.
Sunlight Received / Sun Hours
Since solar cells absorb solar radiation to convert it to electricity, it makes sense that the amount of sun— including factors such as the hours of daylight, its intensity, and shadows blocking the solar cells— affects the energy output. This means your location, whether it receives generous sunshine or not, is a variable in determining how much energy your solar cells will generate.
How your solar panels are tilted and oriented can influence your power output. Solar installers will optimise the position and orientation of your system to receive the most sunlight.
How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Generate?
The short answer to this is that it depends on the system you will get and your location.
In 2011, the Clean Energy Council put together a chart that estimated the average daily energy output for solar cells in different places in Australia. Figures showed that locations with hot, desert climates such as Alice Springs had a higher average solar output than those with subtropical climates like Sydney. A 1.0 kW system in Alice Springs produced 5.0 kWh of energy, while the same-sized system in Sydney generated 3.9 kWh.
In our local Cairns, the average daily power output from different systems are as follows:
- 1.0 kW system = 4.2 kWh
- 1.5 kW system = 6.3 kWh
- 2.0 kW system = 8.4 kWh
- 3.0 kW system = 12.6 kWh
- 4.0 kW system = 16.8 kWh
It is also important to note that even different solar power systems rated at 1.0 kW and placed side by side can still have different energy output due to factors such as the efficiency and quality of their components.
Learn More About Solar Installation in Cairns
If you haven’t made the switch to renewable energy yet, you can contact the G-Solar team to help you. We can help you understand your energy usage to determine the kind of system you need for maximum cost-saving and efficiency. For all your commercial and residential solar installation and maintenance, the Atherton Tablelands, and Far North Queensland, we’ve got you covered.