How Much Energy Does Solar Panels Produce?

It’s not often that we’re asked to compare apples to oranges, but when it comes to the energy produced by different types of solar panel systems the answer is pretty stark. Most people think that photovoltaic solar panels are efficient at converting sunlight into electricity, but they’re not. Sure, they can produce plenty of power at a very high rate, but you’ll never get anywhere near covering your energy needs with solar alone. The energy density of sunlight is just too great.

To compare apples to apples (and oranges to oranges) we need to look at the energy produced per unit area for each type of solar panel system.

Matching The Sun To Your Needs

The first and most obvious difference between the two is the size of the photovoltaic solar array. Smaller systems (micro-solar and small-scale) produce less energy per area, but can be easier to install and still provide decent power for small appliances. Larger photovoltaic solar array (large-scale) produce more energy, but the process of collecting and converting sunlight becomes less efficient. The trade-off is simple – bigger is better when it comes to solar energy.


On the subject of installation, you cannot beat the convenience of rooftop solar panels. They’re already there when you need them and gone when you don’t. There’s no putting them on a sunny day and then going back inside to find the panels are hot and need to be changed. With a rooftop solar system you never need to worry about running out of electricity, but there is one significant downside – your roof.

Roofs are not energy-efficient surfaces to capture solar energy from. There’s always some shading near the solar panels that prevents them from absorbing all the sunlight. This means that less energy is produced than you’d otherwise get if the panel were placed on a flat surface. This is why it’s generally best to avoid putting solar panels on your roof. In some places it’s even illegal. The only exception is if your roof is made of tile, in which case you can actually increase the power of your solar array by 30% or more.

If you live in a place where the sun shines brightly all year round you don’t need to do anything special to benefit from rooftop solar. In places with harsher climates, however, you’ll need to do some research to see what products work best for your situation. You might also want to consider investing in some energy-saving appliances to reduce your energy use – even something as simple as a power-saving light bulb can make a huge difference in your energy bill. 


The last thing anyone wants is a power outage due to a broken cell or bad wiring. This is why we generally don’t talk about solar array durability when we’re reviewing the systems’ energy output, but it’s an important factor nonetheless. The longer a solar panel system can withstand exposure to the elements (water and wind) the more energy it will produce over time. The best panels are those that can withstand heavy winds while producing power at a high rate. You can also look into investing in a system that is built using strong and stable materials – just remember that this will cost you a bit more money.


If you’re the type of person who travels a lot for work then a camper van or RV is the perfect way to go. The higher the roof height, the better as it prevents items in the van from being damaged in case of a sudden stop or crash. As long as your motorhome has over 5 feet of headroom you should be fine and even some tiny ones have a sufficient amount of room to fit all of your belongings. This is a great way to travel and see the world, but not always the most practical solution – you’ll need an RV park nearby if you want to sleep during the day. If you’re planning on staying in one place for an extended period then a mobile home could be a better option as they can be attached to the power grid and therefore be more stable.

Final Takeaway

The verdict is in – the convenience and versatility of a rooftop solar panel system simply cannot be beaten. Even if you only have a small backyard or patio you can still produce enough electricity to cover your daily needs with a small solar system. The main drawback is that they’re not suitable for all places and situations. If you live in a place where it gets cold then a ground-based solar system can still be an option. In places with very low rainfall, rooftop solar can be inefficient as it’s difficult to collect enough water to keep the system running smoothly. The best solution is to find a compromise that satisfies your needs.

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