Knowledge base

What is the solar panel Peak Power?

When opting for solar purchase or solar lease, then the term Peak Power comes around all of the time. What are we talking about when discussing the Peak Power of solar panels? Peak Power is literally the maximum volume of current a solar panel can produce under the best possible circumstances. These circumstances are only achieved under testing conditions, and include a 35 degrees gradient, located on the north and the optimum solar radiation. Based on the Peak Power we are able to give an indication of the potential efficiency of solar panels. We will provide you with a bit more information.

Why Peak Power and kWh are different

Manufacturers and suppliers of solar panels make various promises concerning the Peak Power of solar panels. How come? In reality, it’s quite simple actually. The efficiency of a solar panel is based on two factors: the module efficiency and the dimensions of a solar panel. Module efficiency tells you something about the percentage of sunlight that can be converted into electricity. On average, that’s somewhere between 15 and 22 percent. At Soly South Africa, this solar efficiency lies at 20,5%. Furthermore, a solar panel with larger dimensions has within the surface more space for solar cells. This is exactly why a solar panel with larger dimensions is capable of converting more sunlight into electricity. The efficiency of a solar panel kind of grows in line with the dimensions of it.

Meaning of Peak Power

At the root of revenue

Peak Power is kind of a technical term, only used in solar business. For a reliable measurement of the Peak Power all companies active in the business make use of the same international guidelines. Both solar panels and solar cells are extensively tested in laboratories. In practice, this means the capacity of individual solar panels are in fact measured under equal, optimal conditions.

Within the specifications of solar panels, without exceptions, we discuss the term Peak Power. This could be quite confusing, because we tend to express our own power consumption in kWh (kilo-Watt hour). It therefore makes sense to convert Peak Power to kWh. While there are many international manufacturers of solar panels, there’s also a lot of variation in Peak Power. We are using the Trina Solar panels with 390 Peak Power.

Over here in South Africa, average conditions are basically not as optimal as they are in test environments. This is a direct result of the different gradients of, inter alia, roofs and weather conditions in South Africa. In most cases, the real efficiency of a solar panel lies somewhere between 85 and 90 percent. We’d like to take 88% as an average number. This is why, if you want to convert Peak Power to kWh, we use the following formula: 1 PP ≈ 0,88 kWh.

Examples of Peak Power for solar panels

The energy market is growing and developing rapidly. Over the years, we have seen the Peak Power of solar panels increase. Solar panels have greatly improved compared to say 10 years ago. Where back then a 250 Peak Power solar panel was quite rare, we now witness solar panels with 350, 390 or even 450 Peak Power. As we’ve shown above, the efficiency of solar panels grows along with the dimensions. It is thus possible that a neighbor – with the same roof – installed more solar panels compared to you, but generates less energy. We are happy to give you some examples:

  • 350 Peak Power
  • 390 Peak Power
  • 450 Peak Power

We also would like to motivate why we are opting for the 390 Peak Power solar panels at the moment. Just visit the link about 390 Peak power.

More information

We are here to help you find the best solution in solar energy. Just contact us for more information.
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