Let’s say you have a 10 kWh panel system.
Solar panels are guaranteed to have 100% efficiency for 25 years, and after that, there is a slow dropoff in efficiency. After that its efficiency drops, so for all intents and purposes, it becomes an 8.75 kWh panel, and so on in that vein.
Let’s say you live in a really sunny area too. That’s where you’ll get the most efficiency.
That means that each day, for 25 years, your system would produce 10 kWh. So, over 9,125 days, it would produce 91,250 kWh. Then let’s say it produces 8.75 kWh for the next 25 years. Over 9,125 days, it would produce 79,843.75 kWh. Then let’s say you decide to get new panels installed because after 50 years, there’s probably some better technology available.
So, over a lifetime of about 50 years, your solar panels will produce 171,093.75 kWh.
The average American home uses about 11,500 kWh per year.
It depends on where you live in the country, how the solar panels are installed, and the efficiency of the solar panels you use. I have a 4.5 kWh system on the roof of my home and I can get 30 kWh of power one day and 1 kWh the next due to cloud cover.
Solar panels degrade in performance over a number of years. Leading solar panels will have a performance warratee (e.g., SunPower has a 80% performance warrantee for 25 years).
Even the most experienced solar installers have a hard time estimating this until they see several years of solar power generating data in a location. I recommend looking for a solar installation where you live to see what their experience is in generating power – see http://www.carbondiet.ca/solar/solar-power-examples.html. Below is a link to understand more about how much solar energy you can produce.
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