Solar Energy Panel - Typical Power, Price and Applications

The solar energy panel is the backbone of any solar energy project. Without it, the solar charge controller, solar inverter, control panel and appliance and devices hooked to the solar grid are useless. Obviously, with different solar panel output needs and requirements, many different size solar panels have emerged. It's worth noting that Sharp's solar panels are among the most popular selling. Let's take a quick look at some typical solar energy panel sizes, applications and specs.

A 5w solar panel ($30 - $50 and available from "NOWER" on Amazon.com) will produce 17 volts of peak voltage at .3 amps. This size solar energy panel is ideal for trickle charging your batteries or other devices requiring a small amount of solar power.

Typical measurements for a 5w solar panel are about 11 x 7 inches and 7 or 8 inches of depth for the angled stand. Typical applications satisfied customers have reported using are - gate opener running on 12v battery (in parallel), 2 ventilation fans in a crawl space, small boat battery and home weather station. Most 5w solar panels can be hooked in parallel, but double-check with the manufacturer first.

Many 15 watt solar panel ($60 - $100) manufacturers include a plug that fits your vehicle's 12-volt lighter socket, since this is the perfect size to power a car battery. Available from solar retailer "SunForce" on Amazon.com, a solar charge controller is recommended so as not to overcharge your battery, and a typical size for this panel is around 42 x 12 x 3 inches for the stand.

Perfect for all 12 volt battery applications, the versatile 15 watt solar panel can find many uses on the farm and around the house. Max solar panel output is 15 watts, but peak surge is usually around 1 amp at 15 to 20 volts. This solar energy panel can be hooked in parallel, allowing you to add power as needed.

At around $200 to $250 and available from "TOP" and "AZM" on Amazon.com, a 45 watt solar panel kit varies in price due to the number of components you desire. Some kits come as complete solar panels, charge indicators, power inverter and wiring, while others carry just the panels. Generally three 15 w solar energy panel components are wired in parallel, many kits contain 3, 6, 9 and 12 volt dc adapters and extras such as battery clamps amps and 12 volt sockets.

Roughly one meter square, and a foot deep with the stand opened, the max solar panel output of most 45 watt solar panel kits is roughly 2.5 amps at about 20 volts. Perfect for TVs, lights, computers and similar sized items, this is a good mid-sized panel kit, when used with a solar charge controller, can also trickle charge a 12 v battery. Some kits are made to be self-supporting, and can not run in parallel, check your specs to verify.

A 150 watt solar panel is perfect for many commercial and roof mount uses. Max peak power on this solar energy panel runs around 35 volts at 4 - 5 amps, and is perfect for a small cabin or RV. Max current is most commonly around 4 to 5 amps at 30 to 35 volts. A 150 watt solar panel can be run in parallel with other panels, but the power that it puts out is usually sufficient to operate on its own. Most units are 5 or 6 feet by 3 feet, and require a large area angled toward the sun. You can expect to pay between $400 and $700 for this size solar energy panel, and these are available from "SolarTorrent" on Amazon.com.

Amazon RV/Marine Portable Solar Power Mat

A 300 watt solar panel can power a small house, and in late 2009 one-piece 300 watt solar panels were first unveiled. Most large size solar energy "panels" are usually grids of many interconnected smaller panels. You can expect to pay from $600 to $1200 for the panel alone, and more for a kit.

Many mountain homes are resorting to these massive panels as power backup, and they help trim your monthly bill by quite a bit. There is no standard size or weight 300 watt solar panel, and peak power is all over the map. Check with your manufacturer before buying. These panels are not practical in parallel, and are offered by "SunPower" as well as many other manufacturers.

A 6v solar panel is super portable, runs around $20 to $40, and is used anywhere a 6 volt battery needs continual charging. One common job for this size solar energy panel is to power Game Feeder and Digital Game Trail batteries. The 6v solar panel is also a great size for class projects, and getting children and teens involved by showing them small practical applications of harnessing solar energy.

Peak power is negligible, and these small panels are generally about one square foot and weigh about a pound. This smaller device really does not have enough solar panel output to make parallel connections sensible. Most at this size come pre-wired with battery clamps or alligator clips. These tiny guys are available in most online electronics outlets, and are offered by "Moultrie" on Amazon.com.

A typical 24v solar panel application would be commercial or residential roof-systems and ground-mounted arrays. This size solar energy panel will crank out about 30 to 35 volts at about 8 amps, supplying a generous 220 to 250 watts of max solar panel output.

Very powerful alone, they are not often seen run in parallel and price will vary from $500 to $800 depending on accessories, specs and features. They are available from "SunPower". "SunPower" was rated the top Solar Energy Panel manufacturer in the U.S. and "KACO" makes the best solar inverters, according to a recent poll of directors of photovoltaic installation companies in 45 different countries.

There are some general tips that apply to most solar energy panel manufacturers and applications. For instance, always ask if the solar panel in question was manufactured for winter or summer sun. Summer sun can generate up to 3 times more power, and can overcharge and kill a battery unless you have a charge controller hooked up. A handy feature on any solar energy panel is a built-in charge indicator. And always check peak surge power, accessories, size and parallel-capability. Manufacturers and accessories vary, so make sure you know what you are getting.


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