Ever noticed how big are solar panels? Most solar panels come in rectangular sizes. But you might not know their actual size only by looking at them. Plus, they come in various sizes. But a solar panel’s size is crucial if you want to install one in your house.
Now the question remains, how big are solar panels? Well, I’m going to discuss that throughout this article. I will tell you the size of various solar panels, why solar panel size is essential, what factors determine the size, and many more. So, let’s get going.
How Big Is A Solar Panel?
You will get various sizes of solar panels in the market. The sizes of solar panels depend on a lot of factors. There are various types of solar panels as well. But the most common solar panels are residential solar panels. This type of panel is generally 65 inches by 39 inches in size.
Solar panels are pretty big. That’s because they have to take sunlight and convert it into electricity. So, manufacturers make them in a way so they can consume the maximum amount of sunlight. Although solar panels’ sizes differ for many reasons, residential solar panels are pretty much the same for all brands.
What Factors Determine Solar Panel Size?
There’re a handful of reasons why solar panel sizes change. Even the size of the same type of solar panel can be different for some reasons. In this part, I will show you all the reasons why solar panel size changes. So, here are some key reasons behind it:
Cell Number: Cell number is one of the primary reasons behind it. A solar panel with many cells is always bigger than a panel with fewer cell numbers. So, it’s an important factor behind a solar panel’s size. For example, a solar panel with 72 cells is bigger than a panel with 60 cells.
Wattage: Wattage is another factor that determines solar panel size. Here also, a solar panel with a bigger wattage is usually larger than one with a small wattage. For instance, a 250-watt solar panel is larger than a 100-watt solar panel.
Brands: The size of solar panels may vary based on brands. Different brands’ solar panels come in different sizes even though the cell number and other things are similar. So, brands play an important role in changing solar panel size.
Type: It’s another reason a solar panel’s size may vary from each other. You will see various types of solar panels on the market, and based on the type; the size might change.
Does solar panel size matter?
Solar panels’ size is crucial to installing a solar system. So, you can understand that the size of a solar panel matters. The reason is pretty simple. In most residential and commercial usage cases, solar panels are installed on the rooftop.
But you will have to determine whether your rooftop can accommodate the solar panels. That’s why solar panel size is very crucial. If your solar panels are too big and do not fit on the rooftop, you won’t be able to install them. So, you will have to measure the size of your solar panel and your roof.
You also have to inspect your roof condition and determine whether it can bear the load of your solar installation to measure your total solar panel size by summing up the size of all your solar panels. But you can hire a professional as well to do it.
Are residential and commercial solar panels equal in size?
Generally, residential and commercial solar panels are not the same size. They differ from each other in size. Residential solar panels are a bit smaller than commercial solar panels. That is because residential solar panels have fewer cells compared to commercial ones.
The most typical residential solar panels are made of 60 cells. On the other hand, the most typical commercial solar panels are made of 72 cells. Since the cell number is higher in commercial solar panels, they are bigger than its counterpart in residential solar panels.
Generally, the average size of a residential solar panel is 65 inches by 39 inches or 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet. On the contrary, a typical commercial solar panel comes in 77 inches by 39 inches or 6.42 feet by 3.25 feet. You can see the latter is larger in length than the former. However, the size might change for both types for different brands.
What is the standard size of a solar panel?
Solar panel types and cell numbers change the standard size of solar panels. We already know that the most common standard size solar panel comes in 65 inches by 39 inches.
However, we have discussed only two types of solar panels and two cell numbers. But there are many other categories of solar panels available whose sizes differ from each other. You will also find solar panels with more than just 60 and 72 cells.
The standard size for a commercial solar panel is 77 inches by 39 inches. But this size will change when the type and the cell amount of solar panel change. We’ll discuss them in the next section of this article. Are you with me so far?
Standard size of solar panel based on the type
Solar panels have various types and sizes. And based on the type, the size of the solar panel changes. Although the size may change for different brands, there is a standard size for each type of solar panel. Here we will discuss that.
So, here is the standard size of various solar panels based on their types:
Single PV: Single PV or Photovoltaic solar panels consist of only one PV cell. As a result, they are pretty small in size. The standard size of these solar panels is 6 inches by 6 inches. So, you cannot use them for residential purposes, let alone commercial. They are only used in small appliances.
Standard Residential Panel: We already know that a standard residential solar panel comes in 65 inches by 39 inches. However, this size may change for different brands. But the above size is a standard now for residential solar panels. So, every brand tries to follow this site.
Standard Commercial Solar Panel: Commercial solar panels are a bit bigger than residential solar panels. A standard commercial solar panel is generally 77 inches by 39 inches in size. As you can see, it’s bigger than residential solar panels. But this size also slightly changes with brands.
RV or Camper Solar Panel: RVs or campers have very little space; their solar panels are smaller than residential or commercial solar. However, a standard RV solar panel is available at 36 inches by 26.3. It’s relatively smaller, but I think it’ll be enough since you’re using it in an RV.
Off-Grid Solar Panels: Off-grid solar panels are developed for outside usage. You can use them in your camps for running water pumps and charging batteries. It’s larger than the RV panels. The standard size of this solar panel is 62 inches by 34 inches.
The table below shows the standard size of different types of solar panels at a glance:
|Solar panel size||Dimensions|
|Single PV (photovoltaic)||6 inches by 6 inches|
|Standard residential panel||65 inches by 39 inches|
|Standard commercial panel||77 inches by 39 inches|
|RV or Camper Solar panel||36 inches by 26.3 inches|
|Off-grid solar panel for pumping water, charging batteries, etc.||62 inches by 34 inches|
Standard size of the solar panel based on number of cells
The dimension of solar panel size also changes based on the cell number. Here I will show you the standard size of solar panels for different cell numbers.
60 Cells: Most residential solar panels come with 60 cells. So, the average size of these solar panels is 66 inches by 39 inches. However, the size of this cell number can also change because of the brand.
72 Cells: Commercial solar panels are made of 72 cells. Their standard size is 77 inches by 36 inches. So, a solar panel with 72 cells is bigger than 60 cells.
90 Cells: 90 cells solar panels are also used for commercial purposes. Their standard size is 62.6 inches by 41.5 inches.
The table below shows the standard sizes of solar panels with different cell numbers:
Your solar panel installation heavily depends on how big your solar panels are.
It’s evident that larger solar panels will take more space. So, before you go for a solar installation, do a proper inspection of your rooftop to be sure whether it can accommodate and bear your solar panel installation. That should be the first thing you do before getting in bed with solar panels.
Matasci, S. (2022, June 1). Solar panel size and weight explained: how big are solar panels? Retrieved from EnergySage: https://news.energysage.com/average-solar-panel-size-weight/
Allen, N., Allen, S. . (2022, May 23). Solar Panel Size And Weight: A Comprehensive Guide. Retrieved from forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/home-improvement/solar/solar-panel-size-weight-guide/
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.