How big is a solar panel?


Solar panels can be sized based on the number of cells they have, the wattage they produce and the brand of the solar panel. 

Why is solar panel size important?

Checking the size of the solar panels is one of the first things you should look when shopping for solar panels. You need to measure how much energy you consume per hour and the actual roofing area in your home. 

Solar Inverter
Solar Inverter

In reference to the roofing area, you must check the standard size of the solar panel, how much energy the solar panels can generate in an hour, the dimensions of the solar panels and the number of solar panels you can install to satisfy your need. 

 For example, a person with a three bedroom house with large appliances, will need many solar panels compared to someone living in the same three bedroom but with fewer appliances. 

Join me in this guide as we dissect the aspect of solar panel sizing in details. You will be able to calculate the size and the number of solar panels you need to buy for your home at the end of this guide. Stay tuned. 

Is there a relationship between the solar panel size and the wattage?

Everything you see in solar panels are directly linked to each other. The size of the solar panel affects the energy generated as much as the availability of the sun. This is how:

A solar PV system main aim is to cut the high electricity bill and replace it with cheap free solar energy. Since electricity bills can either be post paid or pre paid, it is easy add more appliances and pay more in bills. 

Unfortunately, that is not the case for solar PV system. There are three ways the size of the solar panels is related to the wattage. 

Cells

Photovoltaic cellsOpens in a new tab. found inside the solar panel determine the current and voltage generated by the solar panel. Wattage is the product of voltage and current. Since one cell cannot generate the required amount of wattage used to power a house, many cells are connected in series to increase the energy generated by solar panels.

The cells are contained inside the panels therefore, if there are more cells connected in series, the dimensions of the solar panel will have to be increased. 

Solar panels

If you have a large load to powder, you might yourself needing more solar panels than one. The more the solar panels, the more the wattage generated. Most home use at least 9 solar panels to increase the wattage generated. 

An array

An array of solar panels contain more than 1 solar panels. The more the wattage you need, the more solar panels you need. An array will occupy a large roofing area. For this reason, you might be forced to buy large solar panels. 

So in order to know how many solar panels you need, calculate your load and match the with the size of the solar panels. 

Does solar panel size vary from manufacturer to manufacturer?

Every brand produce solar panels with different dimensions. The difference in size is affected by the wattage and the type of material used to create the solar panels.

Wattage/voltage

The wattage generated by solar panels influence the size of the panels. If your solar panels is manufactured to generate 1000watts, it will need to have many solar cells. For example, you will find solar panels with 60 cells and 72 cells. This two solar panels will definitely not have the same dimensions. 

Type of material used

Different companies use different material to make solar panels. The most common material used are monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film.

MonocrystallineOpens in a new tab. is a bit lighter and efficient. Solar panels made from monocrystalline will be occupy small space. 

Although most of these brands don’t use same materials, they almost have the same dimensions and weight. 

How big is a solar panel?

The size of the solar panel is determined by the wattage/voltage, size of the solar cells, and the material used to make the solar panels. 

How big is a solar cell?

 The solar cells are responsible for collecting and converting solar energy into electricity. Most solar cells are made of silicone which is light. For that reason, you will find the almost all solar cells have a standard size of 6.142 inches. The number of cells used to make a solar panel determines the total size of the solar panels. 

What are the dimensions of a residential solar panel?

Residential solar panels contain 60 cells and a dimensions of 66×39 inches and a thickness of 40mm. This dimensions might change from brand to brand depending on the material used and the wattage generated by the solar panels. The table below gives a rough idea on how dimensions of 60 cells solar panels might differ. 

BrandHeightWidth
Evolve solar1000mm1663mm
Canadian solar C56K992mm1650mm
Trina honey series992mm1650mm

What are the dimensions of a commercial solar panel?

Most commercial solar panels are made of 72 cells and has dimensions of 77× 39 inches and 40 mm thickness. This dimensions are bound to change from brand to brand depending on the material used to make the solar panels. The table below shows how different solar panels might have different dimensions. 

BrandHeightWidth
Evolve solar1000mm1985mm
Canadian solar diamond series992mm1968mm
Trina tall max series992mm1956mm

How many solar panels will fit into my roof?

The number of solar panels needed to fit your roof depends on the size of load to be powered by the solar. You will need more solar panels if you are powering a large load. 

Another thing that determines the number is solar panels you need is the size of solar panels. 

Let’s take an example of a home that needs 2500watts and hour. If you install 250 Watts solar panels you will need approximately 10 solar panels. 

If your roof cannot fit 10 solar panels, you might be forces to buy solar panels with let’s say 400 Watts. In such a case, you will need about 7 solar panels. 

The type of materials used to make solar panels will determine how many panels you need to install. Monocrystalline solar panels are light and can generate more wattage than poly crystalline and thin-film solar panels. 

Solar panel size chart

As discussed in different segments of my guide, there are a lot to put into consideration when determining the size of the solar panels. 

If you have noticed, some if the solar panels discussed in section 4 above come from same brand but have different dimensions. This is because of number of cells contained in the solar panels. 

Brand 60 cells dimensions72 cellsDimensions
Evolve solar 1663×1000mm1985×1000mm
Canadian solar 1650×992mm1968×992mm
Trina solar 1650×992mm1956×992mm

Most of these solar panels have a thickness of between 35-40mm. 

This dimensions change due to a number of reason. 

Material used

Different solar panel companies might decide to use different materials to make their solar panels. For example, if a solar panel is made of monocrystalline material, it might end up being thinner and smaller compared to poly crystalline solar panel. This is because different materials have different efficiency. There are others that need to have an added surface area to collect more solar energy. 

Wattage rating

Different companies use different scales to rate their solar panelsOpens in a new tab.. You might find a solar panel with 60 cells but can generate 250 Watts. Other solar panels might still contain 60 cells but generate 270 watts of energy. 

When buying solar panels to fit the size of your load, you are most likely to check the wattage they can generate per hour. 

Weather conditions in your area

How hot are your peak days? Can the number of solar panels installed in your home satisfy your need? 

If you come from an area where the sun is always low, you might need to install more solar panels than a person who come from an area with high sun peaks. This is to ensure you have collected more sunlight energy even when the sun is low. 

Another factor that might determine the sizing of the solar panels is whether you are using solar energy for commercial or residential gain. If you are buying solar panels for your home, you might not go for the solar panels with many cells. 60 cells solar panels are enough to satisfy your every day energy need.

On the other hand, if you are buying solar panels for a residential property, every wattage collected from the sun is important. You therefore need to buy large solar panels that can collect large amount of sun. 

Conclusion

Sizing solar panels is determined by the load you need to power. If you have many appliances, you will need large amount of energy. As a result, you have to install many solar panels. 

The size of solar panel is determined by the number of cells available in a solar panel. Most residential solar panels have 60 cells and have a standard size of 39×66 inches and 40 mm thickness. Commercial solar panels come with 72 cells and a standard size of 39× 77 inches. You will find commercial solar panels with 96 cells. 

Matt

I’m Matt, a computer and electronic embedded system developer. Currently, working as an electronic engineer. In my leisure time, I do love to blog about technology stuff. Specially, new advance high tech devices. Portable solar systems are one of topic that I love to investigate. They are becoming more powerful day by day which keep me alert.

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