Interested to know how many kilowatt hours (kWh) your new solar panel system will kick out per year? It’s pretty simple to come up with a ballpark number. All you gotta do is look at the map below, which is labeled with an estimate of the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) you can generate with one kilowatt (kW) of solar panels in every part of the United States.
If you haven’t gotten solar yet and you want to skip the ballpark estimates and have a professional use their high-tech software to give you an more exact estimate, connect with one of our trusted solar installer partners today.
If you’re ready for the ballpark, multiply the size of your system in kW by the number that is written in the shaded region where you live in the map below. Then multiply the result by 78%, to account for losses due to wiring and conversion from DC to AC power. Simple!
For example, let’s say you live in Nevada and are thinking about installing a 5-kW solar system. Most Nevadans live in the Las Vegas metro area, which is located in the shaded region labeled “2000.”
Take that 2000 and multiply by the 5 kilowatts of your system size to get 10,000 kWh. Multiply that by .78 to get 7,800 kWh, which is a good estimate of how much electricity your 5-kW system will produce in a year.
How much money can you save with solar panels?
Ah, here’s the tricky part. Electricity costs different amounts depending on your utility company. To make it more complicated, some utility companies charge a flat fee for electricity, while some charge different prices based on the time of day or season.
Let’s look at a simple example, using the data from above. People in Las Vegas get their electricity from NV Energy, which currently (no pun intended) offers a flat-rate of $.12/kWh for home customers.
Take the 7,800 solar kWh from the last step and multiply it by $.12/kWh, and you end up with $936 of savings per year. Pretty good!
You could further divide that $936 into 12 equal amounts to see that you’ll save an average of $78 per month. Note, that’s just an average, because solar panels don’t make the same amount of electricity all year round.
Unless you live at the equator, the angle of the sun in the sky changes based on the time of year. It’s low in the winter and high in the summer. Changes to weather patterns also affect how much sun your panels will get, though maybe not as much in the desert of southern Nevada as in the blue hills of northern Wisconsin.
How to estimate your own solar savings
Follow the steps above to see how much a 5-kW solar system could save you. In California, for example, you could save $.17/kWh, which even at the reduced production rate of 1,900 kWh/kW of solar, can equal $1,260 of savings per year, with the same 5-kW system.
Or in Massachusetts, where electricity costs $.20/kWh, and a kW of solar panels makes 1,500 kWh per year. The panels save you $1,170 per year, and the additional incentives save you thousands more.
Every state offers different electricity prices and incentives, and every roof is different, too. If you’re ready to bypass the guessing game using estimated numbers, get an actual solar quote for your home from trusted professional installers.
Last modified: April 9, 2018