Investment in a more sustainable future is as good a reason as any to start using solar energy, from lowering to eliminating your electric bill, energy dependence, and carbon footprint. But unless you climb up onto a roof, it can be difficult to figure out how big are solar panels and how much they weigh.
Solar panels come in a range of sizes; the overall size is influenced by a number of variables, including the type of solar cell, total wattage, and panel type.
We’ll explain solar panel weight and size in this article to help you determine whether your roof can support a solar panel system that generates enough wattage to meet your household’s daily energy needs.
Table of Contents
- How Big Are Standard Solar Panels?
- How Much Do Solar Panels Weigh?
- Average Area Oof A Single Solar Panel
- Types Of Solar Panels
- Can A Solar Panel System Be Supported On Your Roof?
- Effect Of Solar Panel Size
- Factors That Determine Solar Panel Size
How Big Are Standard Solar Panels?
Standard residential solar panels, the ones you would have installed onto your home’s roof, measure on average 65 inches by 39 inches, or 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet, covering an area of 15 square feet.
Depending on who made the solar panel, there are slight measurement variations.
Commercial solar panels, which can be up to 6 feet in length, are typical for large-scale solar installations like those built onto warehouses.
You must first comprehend the general structure of the solar panel in order to comprehend its size.
Smaller individual photovoltaic (PV) solar cells are used to make solar panels. The size of PV cells is always the same: 156 mm by 156 mm, or roughly 6 inches long by 6 inches wide.
The majority of small-scale solar installations, like the one you’re likely to get on your house, are composed of 60 solar cells.
On the other hand, commercial solar installations typically have 98 or more cells, with a minimum of 72 cells.
Read More: How To Clean Solar panels?
How Much Do Solar Panels Weigh?
Another crucial consideration to bear in mind if you’re planning to install a rooftop solar system is how much solar panels weigh. The best way to make sure your roof can support a full installation of solar panels is to know how much each panel weighs.
EnergySage compared the weight of the top 10 solar panel brands’ typical 60-cell residential solar panels and examined the product specifications for the brands that are most frequently made available to consumers in the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. Although there can be some variation between brands, the majority of panels weigh in at around 40 pounds.
With some panels weighing as little as 33 pounds, SunPower was the lightest of the top brands we compared. Canadian Solar was the heaviest, with panels that can weigh up to 50 pounds.
Average Area Oof A Single Solar Panel
The High Density Shingle PERC Module (HiDM) from Canadian Solar is an excellent illustration of a typical residential solar panel.
Depending on the weather, this single solar panel has a maximum output of 345 watts.
The said solar panel dimensions are as follows: 1700 ˣ 992 ˣ 35 mm (66.9 ˣ 39.1 ˣ 1.38 in)
Multiplying the length by the width will give us the total area.
We will need to convert mm to feet, though, so that the final measurement won’t be absurdly large.
- 1700 mm = 5.5 feet
- 992 mm = 3.2 feet
As a result, the typical size of a single modern solar panel is 17,6 square feet.
Types Of Solar Panels
Additionally, different materials—whether monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film—can be used to make solar panels. The type of silicon solar cell that each technology uses makes the biggest distinction between them: monocrystalline solar panels use silicon solar cells that are made from a single silicon crystal, whereas polycrystalline solar panels use silicon solar cells that are assembled from a number of silicon fragments. Monocrystalline cells are more efficient overall, so fewer of them will be needed for the same overall output, even though their composition does not inherently affect their size or weight.
Solar panels are made in the same way for both residential and commercial uses. Individual solar photovoltaic (PV) cells make up each solar panel. Standard PV solar cell dimensions are 156 mm by 156 mm, or roughly 6 inches long and 6 inches wide. The average solar panel for rooftop solar installations has 60 solar cells, whereas the standard for commercial solar installations has 72 cells (and can go as high as 98 cells or more). In this article, you can find out more about solar cells.
For example, the most popular solar panel on the EnergySage Marketplace, the Panasonic EverVolt WBS EVPV370 WBS which is made from monocrystalline cells, is 1721.0 mm (5.6 ft) long and 1016.0 mm (3.3 ft) wide for an area of 18.5 ft2 and weighs roughly 45 lbs.
Related Reading: Types of Solar Panel Connectors
Can A Solar Panel System Be Supported On Your Roof?
With the knowledge of solar panel size and weight, we can determine the weight of an entire solar panel system, which can help you determine whether or not your roof can support a new solar panel system.
The weight of the solar panels alone in a 6 kilowatt solar installation will be around 800 pounds (20 panels x 40 lbs). By dividing 800 pounds by 352 square feet, we can determine that the same system weighs 2.3 pounds per square foot and has a measurement of 352 square feet. The total weight will be closer to 3–4 pounds per square foot when you factor in the mounting hardware and other panel-related equipment.
Most newer homes have roofs that can support much more weight per square foot than 3 pounds. However, consult a roofing company if you have an older roof or have any concerns about whether it can support the extra weight of solar panels. You can decide whether adding solar panels to your roof will benefit your home by performing a quick roof inspection.
Read More: Can You Put Solar Panels on A Mobile Home?
Effect Of Solar Panel Size
Solar panel size and quantity are crucial factors to take into account if your roof is small or has an unusual shape. In order to reach your desired energy output, you might be able to forego some efficiency and purchase larger panels (at a lower cost per panel) if your usable roof area is large. However, if your usable roof area is constrained or if it is partially shaded, being able to use fewer smaller, high-efficiency panels may be the best way to produce the most power over time, ultimately saving you more money.
Factors That Determine Solar Panel Size
The size and shape of the solar panel are influenced by the material from which it is made. Thin-film, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline solar panels are made of different types of materials. For instance, monocrystalline is both the most expensive and the best choice. Compared to thin-film material, it occupies less room and weighs less. Generally speaking, the smaller and lighter the solar panel is, the more space it saves.
According to the manufacturing process, each brand of solar panel has a slight variation in the size and weight. Despite the fact that the weight of various solar panel brands varies, a typical 60 cell solar panel weighs about 40 pounds.
Wattage and the necessary voltage/current requirements are additional crucial factors. The total power output of a solar system, measured in watts, is produced by a collection of connected solar panels. A solar panel’s surface area will increase with the amount of power it generates. When more voltage is required, solar panels can be connected in a series or parallel configuration.
Electricity Output Needed
Last but not least, according to Martin Desmond, a renewable energy expert with Wizer Energy, the size of your solar panel system must correspond to the desired electricity output needed. He says that you’ll need to “measure your overall electricity usage from your bill and make a note of the total kilowatt-hours spent.” It’s crucial to take weather changes, the use of various appliances, and variations in consumption and usage into account. The best strategy is to generate more energy than you will need and store it or sell it back to the regional grid.
Read Next: Solar Panels For RV
How big is a 300W solar panel?
Many residential solar panels, which measure about 5.5 feet long and 3 feet wide, have a 300W rating per panel. The actual power generated by a panel varies depending on a few variables, including the location and tilt of the panels.
Which solar panel size is best?
This largely depends on the amount of room you have. Commercial installations, homes with expansive roofs, and other areas with lots of open space are better suited for large panels than other applications. On the other hand, if your rooftop is small or otherwise complicated, small solar panels are the best option.
How big is a 500W solar panel?
In the past, it was accepted wisdom that larger solar panels produced more wattage. But recently, a lot of manufacturers have improved their productivity, so there isn’t a strict size standard. For more information, read our article on 500W solar panels.
Are there multiple sizes of solar panels?
The size of solar panels varies considerably depending on the type of project, i.e., commercial or residential. However, the two most typical configurations for solar panels are either 60 or 72 cells. But there are smaller sizes available, like 100W solar panels for RVs, which are made to fit in a smaller space or be used while traveling.