The sun delivers about 1,000 watts of energy per square meter on a clear day at noon. Most solar panels are rated at 200 watts, which means about 20% of the energy from the sun gets to your house. However, most solar panels don’t quite meet the 20% output rate. The table at this website shows the actual efficiency of a variety of solar panels on the market. The highest rated panel is able to transfer about 15% of the energy from the sun into your home.
As technology advances, we should be able to see an increase in efficiency of solar panels.
There are several factors that determine how much energy absorbed by your solar panel actually makes it into your home. These include energy uses, wiring and conductor quality, and battery or battery bank quality.
Batteries are probably the most important variable. Most people with solar power systems use photovoltaic panels to charge a battery or many batteries connected in series (called a battery bank). These systems are limited in the charge that they can store at a time, and differ in rate of power loss during periods of use and disuse. Even the same kind of battery, in different conditions, can operate differently. For example, “batteries can lose over half of their charge when exposed to extreme temperature swings.” Keeping your batteries clean of corrosion will also keep them longer at optimal performance.
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