These days, as energy needs continue to rise, many people are turning to solar power as a more cost-effective and powerful alternative. And with the introduction of 500 watt solar panels, this trend is only accelerating.
While most residential solar panels typically top out at around 350W to 400W in terms of power output, 500 watt solar panels offer an impressive output of, you guessed it, 500W. However, some may wonder whether or not these larger panels actually perform better. After all, when it comes to solar power, bigger doesn’t always necessarily mean better, does it?
500 watt Solar Panels
Standard Test Conditions (STC) put these panels at a power output of 500 watts which is why they have the same name.
STC tests panel performance in a lab condition and is an industry-standard test. The requirements include 25°C temperature and 1,000 lumens/m2 light. It tests a solar panel’s maximum power output under ideal temperature and sunlight conditions.
Usually, you can expect approximately 2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) daily from a 500 W solar panel. This racks up to 731 kWh of power generated per year. Just keep in mind that power output depends upon a lot of variables.
Efficiency in these 500 W solar panels peaks at about 21%. If you plan to achieve 6 kilowatts (kW) of solar capacity, you will require nearly twelve 500 W solar panels for a proper residential system.
The Technology of 500 watt Solar
There are several innovative technologies for achieving 500-watt solar panels. The two standard technologies are:
Usually, most 500-watt solar panels utilize this technology in which the panels are bifacial. Bifacial means that the panels are double-sided. This means they can catch sunlight from both sides and convert it into electricity with high efficiency.
However, these panels can only be used for utility-scale solar power or ground-mount installs. In both applications, the front and the back are exposed to the Sun. The same logic can be applied to rooftop applications where it is useless to install bifacial panels as they would not receive sunlight on both sides.
Half-cut solar cells
Traditional solar cells and half-cut solar panels are nearly similar in size but with one key difference; power output.
Halving solar cells also cuts their overall current in half, which lessens resistive losses. All of this makes half-cut solar cells a little more efficient. This innovative technology saves space and can produce more energy efficiently in a smaller surface area. There isn’t that much difference between these cell configurations.
The Size Of A 500 watt Solar Panel
The composition of these solar panels includes 144 half-cut monocrystalline cells. One panel covers approximately 27.5 square feet of area and weighs 32.3 kg. These staggering dimensions and weights make these panels more appropriate for commercial uses.
Commercial solar panels can comprise 72 or 144 half-cut cells, typically made larger for heavy industry use. On the other hand, residential solar panels are made up of 60 solar cells or 120 half-cut cells. These are typically smaller and used for power generation in homes.
500 W solar panels are large, making it especially hard to fit them onto a small residential roof. The better option is to invest in numerous small solar panels that can combine to power a home for a day.
Their size makes it easy to arrange and get the best configuration with maximum power output. Furthermore, the large physical size of 500 W panels makes them difficult to handle, making their installation more challenging.
Use of 500 watt Solar Panels
There are many large-scale applications for 500-watt solar panels; some of them are:
- Commercial jobs
- Utility-scale solar farms
- Ground-mount systems
The Worth for Cost
For homes, it is not recommended to use 500-watt solar panels as these panels have large-scale applications. They do not fit the residential image well since their weight and size are impractical for residential power generation. Also, they are not cost-effective either.
Cost and Efficiency
Their performance is insufficient to give them an edge against other solar panels.
Rather than being beneficial, they might prove worse for residential areas since they cannot compete with standard residential panels in terms of power, temperature coefficient, efficiency rating, and other areas. The higher wattage rating is the result of their larger size.
However, when comparing solely on power output, you can get sixteen 375 W standard solar panels’ worth of energy from twelve 500 W solar panels. The only problem is efficiency and size. The previous example was given to make you realize that the wattage of a system matters as a whole, not as an individual component.
In short, installing the standard solar panels will save you money compared to the 500-watt solar panels. The power of the two is the same.
Conclusion: Not Worth It
In simple terms, the 500 W solar panels are best for large-scale installations and are not made for residential settings. This is why purchasing these panels for residential power generation is not advisable.
Most Optimal Wattage For Homes
You might be wondering, if 500-watt solar panels cannot be used for residential use, what wattage do I need? Nowadays, you need a solar panel with a wattage of 350-400 W, which is sufficient. It is the most common and popular choice among consumers, so it has been tried and tested.
You get the ideal cost, efficiency, and size of solar panels in this range, enough for suitable power output in homes. Moreover, these sizes are readily available in the market as solar companies usually stock solar panels in the 350-400 W range and various other models.
Various websites help you determine how many solar panels you will require for your home. Just search for a solar calculator and hit enter. The calculator will decide on your monthly electric bill, the panel size needed, and the savings after a set number of years. After carefully analyzing the results, you can contact a few solar installers and determine which is the most cost-effective option.