How much Solar Power can be Generated per acre?
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If one is to presume that within the acre, the panels will have a clear view of the sky, average to above average amounts of sunlight, and can avoid the most serious environmental conditions.
An acre of photovoltaic (PV) solar panel arrays can produce around five thousand to twelve thousand, eight hundred kilowatt-hours (kWH) in a single year.
Optimal conditions can push that number to ranges above twenty thousand kilowatt-hours, especially in desert environments.
This will take anywhere between fifteen hundred and two thousand solar panels, including each panel’s inverters and mini transformer hardware, the cabling, and sufficient connections to the power grid or building being powered.
How Many Solar Panels can You Fit in a Square Mile?
First of all, the standard specifications for solar panel measurements are going to be sixty-six by forty inches for residential setups and commercial panels that reach up to six feet in length.
This being said, an acre of clear space can hold around one thousand five hundred units and, in some cases, even more than two thousand panels. As mentioned earlier, a square mile holds around six hundred and forty acres.
If you do the math, this will mean that you will be able to fit somewhere between nine hundred thousand and over a million solar panel units in total.
Is There a Way to Calculate It?
Yes, the first thing that needs to be done is to get the full surface area available, assuming the space we are working with is a square mile.
Earlier in the article, we learned that around five thousand hundred to two thousand solar panels could fit in one acre; there will be a total of six hundred and forty acres that fit in one square mile.
Therefore, we must multiply the six forty acres per square mile (640) by the number of solar panels that fit in a clear acre (1,500 – 2,000).
In total, we find a range of nine hundred sixty thousand and one million, two hundred and eighty thousand total solar panel units (640 x 1,500 = 960,000 \ 640 x 2,000 = 1,280,000).
What is the Average Amount of Solar Power per Acre?
As mentioned earlier, an acre of photovoltaic solar panel arrays can produce around five thousand to twelve thousand eight hundred kilowatt-hours in a year.
Optimal environments, such as open ocean and desert climates that have unabated sunlight three hundred plus days a year have recorded totals above twenty thousand kilowatt-hours.
Let’s multiply these averages by six hundred forty acres in a square mile. We find a range of between three million and two hundred thousand kilowatt-hours and upwards of twelve million, eight hundred thousand kilowatt-hours of power.
So we are seeing the difference between a solar farm and an industrial-sized solar power plant.
What if You are Generating Less than Average?
You can go with a range, using rough estimation numbers from those used in this article; however, there is a better course of action to take. Consider taking readings from each day, calculate the number of kilowatt-hours produced and find the output.
If the average is low, consider approaching this like a troubleshooter and begin with the hardware and software. Is the unit plugged in and in a setting that is designed for optimal power collection?
Then if everything seems to be in working order, consider bringing in an expert with specialized tools to make sure that the circuit is in the best condition possible.
Is there a Way to Improve it?
There are going to be certain methods that can improve collection and output numbers, such as consistent cleaning of the panels’ surface. You would be surprised by the amount of power loss caused by dirty panel covers.
Next would be to conduct a secondary survey of the sunlight tracking during each season, might just need to add a panel or two in the right place.
Another solution might be found in the software, and there are going to be settings and programs that can teach the solar panel system when to optimize collection during certain hours of the day, then to cool it during low periods and inclement weather conditions.
Final Thoughts on How Much Solar Power can be Generated per Acre
Having a solar panel power collection array, whether it be a simple or residential size solar farm or power plant sized, is like having a puzzle to solve.
It requires knowing when to optimize power collection, where to face panels, and even software and pivoting hardware that teaches the system to follow the sunlight, as a sunflower does.
Keep an eye on the new technologies coming out, and solar power collection is trendy.