The issue of global warming will take years to resolve, and only if people come together to make some eco-conscious and sustainable choices in their life. One such choice revolves around adopting renewable power sources, such as solar energy.
More and more people are coming forward to install residential solar panels on the rooftops of their houses. Now, unless you climb up your roof, it’s hardly likely that you would understand the standard solar panel size or how many pounds per square foot it weighs.
So, before you move forward with solar panel installation, you must know how much these solar panels weigh and their size.
Let’s walk you through these critical questions to help you make a well-informed decision!
- 1 What is the size of a solar panel?
- 2 What is the ideal area for a solar-powered panel?
- 3 What’s the weight of an average-sized solar panel?
- 4 What type of solar panel should you invest in?
- 5 Is your rooftop strong enough to support a solar panel installation?
- 6 What about the electric bill?
- 7 Final words
What is the size of a solar panel?
Solar panel systems come in two variants of configuration:
- The first one is a 60 solar cells configuration which measures 25 feet x 5.5. feet or 39-inch x 66 inch
- The second one is a 72 solar cells configuration, which measures 25 feet x 6.42 feet or 39-inch x 77 inch
Both these solar panel systemshave a decent thickness of 40 mm.
In simpler terms, if you plan to buy one of the residential solar panels, it must be average-sized at 66×40 inches. The frame of this panel must be no more than 1.25×1.6 inches. These residential solar panels weigh around 40 pounds.
Smaller-sized panels are always the ideal choice to install on the rooftop of your house.
What is the ideal area for a solar-powered panel?
Residential solar panels tend to be smaller in size, measuring around 3.25 feet in width and 5.5 in length. They easily cover an area of 15 feet.
On the other hand, commercial solar panels are more expansive, easily measuring 6.5 feet in length. These commercial solar power systems also weigh around 50 pounds.
That said, these sizes and weights vary depending on the manufacturer of solar panels. The commercial solar panel will likely produce more power than a residential system.
What’s the weight of an average-sized solar panel?
Installation of a rooftop solar system relies on another factor – the weight of the solar panels. Knowing the weight of the solar panel systems will help you decide if your rooftop can support such an installation or not.
Each brand of solar panels will differ in weight, but the average weight will fall around 40 pounds nonetheless.
The lightest of all solar panels may weigh around 33 pounds, while the heaviest can take the scale to 50 pounds.
What type of solar panel should you invest in?
All solar panels differ in their choice of material – either polycrystalline, monocrystalline, or thin-film. The primary difference between these technologies is the kind of silicon cells they employ.
For clear understanding:
- A polycrystalline solar panel has solar cells which are made of different silicon fragments which are melted together
- A monocrystalline solar panel makes use of only one kind of silicon crystal
This change in the material composition does not necessarily impact the weight and size of the panels, but it does affect the efficiency rate of the panels. The monocrystalline cells are certainly better in efficiency; hence these cells will be used less in number while producing similar output.
Despite its application, the construction of both commercial and residential solar panels is similar. Each of these panels is made of individual photovoltaic (PV) cells.
These PV cells come in one standard size only, which is 156 mm x 156mm or 6 inches x 6 inches.
The standard residential solar panel is constructed with 60 solar cells, while the commercial solar panels are made of 72 solar cells, which the companies can extend to 98 solar cells.
Let’s take a quick look at the brief table for an easy understanding of both residential and commercial panels:
|Feature||Commercial solar panels||Residential solar panels|
|Average width (inches)||39||39|
|Average length (inches)||78||65|
|Average depth (inches)||1.5-2||1.5-2|
|Number of solar cells used||72||60|
Now, if you are wondering, how can a 65 inches x 39 inches cover an entire rooftop?
Consider this; you have a solar panel system of 6 kilowatts. Now, if you install this system with around 20 average-sized panels, your solar panel installation will be about 13 feet (length) and 27 feet (width). Overall, it would take the space of 352 square feet.
In this scenario, we have assumed that all the solar panels are close to each other, and there is ample space on your rooftop with no obstruction whatsoever. In reality, you might require ample space to accommodate the differently shaped panel. Plus, you need to ground it at a place that receives maximum sunlight, too!
Do not forget that the solar panel cost depends on your panel system’s distinct design.
If your solar systems, aka all the panels, are compact and have a simple setup, their cost is likely less. If the system is more complex, it will also cost you a hefty price.
Is your rooftop strong enough to support a solar panel installation?
Now that we know a solar panel’s average weight and size, we can easily calculate the weight of the entire panel system. It would help you to determine if your roof can tackle the new panel system with ease or not.
Considering that a solar installation is of 6 kilowatts and comprises 20 different panels. The panels are likely to weigh around 800 pounds if each panel is of 40 pounds.
In one of our above calculations, we had assessed that this panel system would be around 352 square feet, which would weigh 2.3 pounds per square foot (dividing 800 pounds with 352 square feet!).
You would require additional equipment like mounting hardware and solar inverters to help with installation, which will bump the weight to 3-4 pounds per square foot.
Most new roofs can easily hold up to more than 3 pounds per square foot. If you have an old house, though, then this roof might not be able to offer necessary support to the panel system.
In such a case, a roofing company can run a quick roof inspection to help you evaluate if your home can tackle the extra weight of the panel system.
What about the electric bill?
Making use of solar energy is both renewable and sustainable. The cost to produce electricity via solar panels is comparatively a lot less than other options, leading more and more citizens to make the switch.
If you go solar, you will see a low electric bill and significant financial returns – an extremely low-risk, long-term investment! Though, this depends on the following factors:
- Consumption of electricity
- Whether you have chosen a solar lease or purchased your system
- The angle and size of your rooftop
- The size of the solar panel system
- How many hours of direct sunlight does the panel receive?
- The rates of electricity in your area
As of 2022, the US electricity rate is at $2.77 per watt. So, if you have a 6-kW solar panel system, you will pay around $16,620, sans any solar tax, incentives, and rebates.
The price is worth it when you compare the energy produced by the panels!
A 6 KW solar panel system can churn out around 750 KW hours monthly. In a year, this will be roughly between 8,000-10,000 KW-hours.
This will inherently depend on where you live, though. If you live in an extremely sunny place like Miami, your solar panel systems will lead to higher energy turnout. Alternatively, the energy production might not be on the higher end if you live in Seattle.
In either case, the energy produced by the 6 KW solar panel system will be more or less sufficient to light up and run your house.
Also, let’s not forget that going solar will also enhance your house’s value!
Several studies have remarked that individuals are ready to pay premium prices to buy a solar home. One specific study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory indicates that installing a solar system in your house can bump its value by a stellar $15,000.
It’s essential to take a quick survey of your rooftop and determine the kind of weight it can handle and the size of panels it can bear.
Newer houses are less likely to face any issues with the installation of a solar panel system. Still, the old houses might be unable to handle the weight of an average-sized 6 KW solar power system.
A roofing company can help you in such a case.
Most residential solar panels have 60 solar cells, measure around 3.25 feet x 5.5 feet, and can easily harbor great electricity to run your house.
Before you pick a solar company to buy your new solar panel, ensure you have your budget in order. Look out for a company that offers a warranty and free home consultation to determine the specifics of your rooftop.
Once installed, your solar home can become one of your most significant assets, and rightly so! So, what are you waiting for?