How Many Homes Can 1 MW Of Solar Power?

The International Energy Association (IEA) has revised its study on global solar power deployment. The research, Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy 2014 Edition, responds to a dramatic acceleration in solar power growth by estimating that solar power will generate 16 percent of global energy in 2050. This blog post summarizes important findings from the IEA report, examines progress in the United States toward the IEA report’s goal, and suggests specific actions that states and the federal government should take to enhance U.S. solar development leadership.

The IEA had to considerably update the Technology Roadmap for solar power that it had released in 2010 because to dramatic decreases in the price of solar electricity and the resulting faster solar development. The International Energy Agency (IEA) begins its report by highlighting the remarkable fact that the globe has added more solar power in the last four years than it has in the previous forty. Solar panels were installed at a staggering rate of 100 megawatts per day in 2013. To put that figure in context, the Solar Energy Industries Association (a US trade group) estimates that 1 megawatt of solar power generates enough electricity to power 164 American homes. On average, 100 megawatts of solar power can power 16,400 households in the United States. Considering that the United States is ranked 13th in energy efficiency (behind China and India) by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, deploying enough power to power 16,400 US homes in a single day is not terrible.

Despite this tremendous achievement, significantly more solar growth is required if the world is to meet the IEA’s objective of solar power providing 16 percent of global energy. In fact, according to the International Energy Agency, annual solar deployment would need to increase to an average of 124 gigawatts per year by 2025, which is approximately four times the rate of deployment in 2013. Fortunately, the IEA also points out that, due to predicted continued price reductions in solar power, the yearly average investment will only need to be double that of 2013.

To achieve this level of increased and sustained investment in solar power, countries around the world will need to take major policy actions. Although solar power has become cost-competitive in some markets, the IEA cautions that governmental support will be required in many places to enable solar power costs continue to fall, particularly in markets where electricity prices do not reflect greenhouse gas emissions or other environmental externalities.

The report’s most important message is a plea for solid policies to boost solar energy (similar to the call I made in an earlier blog). The United States falls very short in this area. Federal tax incentives for renewable energy, for example, are short-lived, and their unpredictability leads to boom-and-bust growth cycles, as I highlighted a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, support for solar power and renewables in general varies greatly across the United States. California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and New Jersey’s requirement that builders of new homes offer to install solar electricity are two examples of ambitious schemes. Other states provide no financial incentives at all. The IEA states that China and Japan are outpacing the United States in solar development, which is likely due to a lack of stable, predictable policies in the United States. According to Bloomberg News, developing countries are creating renewable energy at twice the rate of developed countries like the United States. We can and should do better.

Nonetheless, there is reason to be optimistic. Solar power will be cost-competitive in 47 U.S. states by 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank prediction published by Bloomberg News. This progress should result in a surge in new solar energy development. Some progress has already been made. Georgia Power, for example, a subsidiary of the Southern Company (one of the country’s major coal-fired power plant owners), recently announced plans to generate solar power for army facilities in Georgia. Southern Power has been adding solar capacity to its portfolio, now totaling 338 MW. North Carolina’s Duke Energy is following a similar path, having just invested in 278MW of solar capacity. Of course, this is still a long way from realizing the full technical potential of solar energy in the United States. In Los Angeles, for example, rooftop solar might generate 19,000MW, dwarfing these utility investments. Nonetheless, the progress we’ve already made provides a solid foundation for future advancement and gives us reason to be optimistic.

2 megawatts can power how many houses?


Megawatts (MW) are far larger amounts of energy than megawatts (MW): we’re talking millions of watts here, which translates to power for hundreds, if not thousands, of houses. Wind turbines, for example, often generate 2-3 MW of power each, or at least are capable of doing so when the wind is really blowing. Because the wind does not always blow, a typical 2 MW wind turbine can power approximately 400 dwellings as a rule of thumb. 3


When you reach gigawatt (GW) levels of electricity, you can start thinking about huge power plants. Hoover Dam, for example, is a 2 GW structure, but the amount of energy it generates is dependent on the amount of water running through it. Hoover Dam supplied electricity to nearly 700,000 homes in 1984, when the water level in Lake Mead was at its highest peak ever. However, since 1999, water levels have dropped dramatically, and the dam currently only generates enough electricity to power roughly 350,000 houses. 4

Gigawatts of power are typically generated by coal and nuclear power stations. The nuclear power facility at Indian Point, just outside of New York City, has the same capacity as Hoover Dam (Indian Point has two 1 GW reactors). However, because nuclear power plants generate electricity more efficiently, Indian Point can serve approximately 1.4 million residences. Plant Bowen in Georgia, the country’s largest coal power plant, has a capacity of more than 3.5 GW and can power 1.9 million homes.


Terawatts (TW) are millions of megawatts, and they’re a useful unit when discussing the rate at which humans use energy around the world. In 2008, for example, humanity consumed around 16.5 TW of energy (this includes all sources of energy, not just electricity). At 3.3 TW, the United States consumed about a fifth of that.

How many megawatts does a house consume?

The standard unit of measurement for bulk power is the megawatt. A megawatt is equal to one million watts. An average megawatt is one million watts delivered continuously 24 hours a day for a year (8,760 hours).

It’s crucial to understand the difference between megawatts and average megawatts. Megawatts are the unit of measurement for a power plant’s overall output. The generating capability of the plant is referred to as this. It’s similar to a horsepower rating in terms of how much power a generator is supposed to produce at full load. The highest amount of electricity a generating plant can produce in an ordinary year is referred to as its generating capability or average annual energy, which is measured in average megawatts.

On the Council’s website’s Power Supply page, pie charts depict Northwest capacity and energy for the various types of generation that comprise up the regional power supply.

The distinction between capacity (megawatts) and energy (average megawatts) is often significant. Grand Coulee Dam, for example, has a capacity of 6,595 megawatts but only 2,732 average annual energy. It is the largest dam in the Columbia River Basin and one of the largest in the world.

The average home energy consumer in the Pacific Northwest uses roughly 11 megawatt-hours per year as of 2017. On a regional scale, one average megawatt is adequate to power 796.36 Northwest houses for a year at 11 megawatt-hours per year per average household. To utilize Grand Coulee Dam as an example, its annual energy output would be sufficient to power 2,175,655 houses (if it only powered homes).

That figure is based on a regional average. Electricity usage differs from one consumer to the next and from one utility to the next. For example, homes with all-electric furnaces, ovens, and water heaters utilize more power than homes with natural gas furnaces, ovens, and water heaters.

What is the maximum number of residences that solar energy can power?

In the United States, solar electricity is more economical, accessible, and widespread than it has ever been. Solar power capacity in the United States has expanded from 0.34 GW in 2008 to an estimated 97.2 GW now. This is enough energy to power 18 million ordinary American homes.

What is the typical area required for a solar system with a capacity of 1 MW?

This is dependent on how many kW of MW you want to accommodate. For every 1kW of solar panels, a basic rule of thumb is to allocate 100 square feet. Extrapolating from this, a 1 MW solar PV power plant would require approximately 100000 square feet of space (about 2.5 acres, or 1 hectare).

However, because large ground-mounted solar PV farms require space for other accessories, a 1 MW solar PV power plant will require approximately 4 acres of land. However, the aforementioned estimate is for traditional solar PV power facilities that do not use trackers and are made of crystalline silicon.

A 1 MW thin film solar plant will take up around 30% more space than a crystalline solar module-based power station. As a result, keep the following guidelines in mind as easy standards.

A solar PV power plant with a capacity of 1 MW will necessitate the following:

What considerations should be considered when evaluating the land area required for solar plants?

When calculating the land area necessary for solar power facilities, the following considerations should be taken into account:

  • Aside from the panels themselves, space will be required for the inverter and monitoring systems’ control and service rooms.
  • The output of the panels might be severely affected if they are shaded by obstructions in and around them. As a result, the entire designated area will be unavailable for electricity generation. After a shading analysis of the region is completed, the panels must be arranged to minimize the shading effect of any obstacles.
  • If trackers are used in power facilities, an additional 1 to 2 acres of land will be needed per MW of capacity.
  • In the case of solar power facilities, additional land will be necessary for storage and workers’ quarters.
  • However, this is generally minor.

Why is the area required for a thin film solar panel (per MW) greater than that necessary for a crystalline panel?

High efficiency solar panels will require less area for the same MW capacity than lower efficiency panels, according to a simple rule of thumb. As a result, a 1 MW solar power plant using crystalline panels (approximately 18 percent efficiency) will take up roughly 4 acres, whereas a 1 MW solar power plant with thin film technology (12 percent efficiency) will take up around 6 acres. Thin film panels require around 50% more space than crystalline panels, as the latter are approximately 50% more efficient than the former.

Can I use my complete roof surface to put up a solar plant if I want to have solar on my roof?

Rooftop owners who want to put solar panels on their roof should receive an estimate of the shade zones on their roof. These are the places where the sun shines for at least part of the day.

Solar panels should not be installed in areas where there will be constant shade. When calculating the amount of space needed for a solar power system, you’ll need to subtract the shade area. In addition, if you plan to install inverters and battery systems on the same rooftop as the solar panels, and if you need to build a separate room for them, you’ll need to subtract this space from your total possible panel area estimations.

Do solar power plants that use trackers take up less space than those that don’t?

Solar trackers dramatically boost the production of solar power plants. In other words, a 1 MW solar PV power plant with trackers will produce up to 30% more electricity in MWh than a solar PV power plant without trackers.

As a result, if energy output is the criterion, a solar farm with trackers may require less space than a solar farm without trackers to provide the same amount of electricity. Because the use of trackers necessitates greater land area for a solar farm, we say “could.”

According to Solar Mango, a solar power plant that wants to use tracker technology will need an additional 1 or 2 acres per MW.

In the end, even after accounting for the higher land requirement, solar farms with trackers are more likely to provide more electricity for a given area than those without.

Is the amount of space necessary for solar power plants a key consideration when constructing a solar power plant?

The cost of land accounts for only a minor portion of the overall costs of a solar power plant (less than 5% of total costs per MW). As a result, even if you don’t own land, you can buy land and build a solar power plant elsewhere. As a result, owning land gives you no competitive advantage. The suitability of land in terms of numerous criteria, such as solar irradiation in the location, is more significant than the amount of land you already own.

Final Thoughts:

When utilized on rooftops and in modest ground-mounted installations, 1 kW of solar panels requires around 100 sqft, or 10 sqm.

Note of gratitude:

Earlier in this post, there was a mistake in the context of the area necessary for utilizing trackers. Terry Tremwel of Picasolar, Arkansas (USA) was nice enough to point out the inaccuracy (mid-May 2015) and provide the right explanation, which we have now updated. Terry, thank you so much.

How much does a megawatt of electricity cost to produce?

According to a new estimate, the cost of solar electricity has dropped so far that it is now cheaper than coal.

The cost of producing power from diverse sources is changing, according to a recent analysis from Lazard. Utility-scale solar plants, which generate power for the grid, have witnessed the highest price decline, with an 86 percent drop since 2009.

According to Lazard’s calculations, the cost of producing one megawatt-hour of electricitya traditional way to evaluate electricity productionis presently under $50 for solar power. By comparison, the cost of producing one megawatt-hour of power from coal is $102, more than twice the cost of solar.

This graph clearly shows the enormous change:

In one day, how much electricity does a 1 MW solar plant generate?

The amount of electricity generated by a solar power plant is influenced by the following factors:

Based on the material, there are three types of solar panels: monocrystalline,

thin films, polycrystalline, and polycrystalline In terms of efficiency, they differ.

  • 19 to 22 percent monocrystalline
  • 15 to 18 crystalline polycrystalline polycrystalline polycrystalline polycrystalline polycrystalline polycrystalline polycrystalline polycrystalline
  • Thin-Film is defined as a film with a thickness of less than 15%.

The efficiency of different brands of modules varies. The higher the brand, the more efficient it is and the less it degrades. As a result, in the long run, there will be more generation.

Radiation considerations have an impact on the electricity generated by solar power facilities. The amount of radiation varies depending on where you are. The bigger the generation, the more radiation there is.

The temperature coefficient % represents the change in generation when the temperature rises or falls by one degree. Solar panels are commonly tested at 25 degrees Celsius.

It should be tilted at an angle equal to the latitude of the location to generate the most electricity from solar power plants. Because the sun rises higher in the summer and sets lower in the winter, the tilt changes.

You may catch additional energy throughout the year by adjusting the panels according to the season. In summary, altering the angle twice a year results in a large gain in energy.

Electricity Generated by 1MW Solar Power Plant in a Month

On average, a 1-megawatt solar power plant can create 4,000 units each day. As a result, it produces 1,20,000 units each month and 14,40,000 units annually.

Let’s look at an example to better comprehend it. The following is the solar power calculation for a 1MW solar power plant:

Example: This is a hypothetical computation of solar power based on numerous assumptions.

The number of days in a month is 30. Let’s say you get 4 hours of bright sunlight every day on average.

The amount of electricity generated would likewise be affected by the irradiance. But, because we’re working with an ideal circumstance here, let’s suppose that the irradiance during the entire 4 hours of sunshine is as specified by the PV module manufacturer. As a result, the number of hours of sunlight is 30 x 4 = 120.

How many megawatts (MW) is required to power a city?

On a daily basis, New York City consumes 11, 000 Megawatt-hours of electricity. One megawatt is equal to the amount of energy required to power 100 households! 1 Megawatt equals 1,000 KiloWatts, or 1,000,000 Watts. So, given that New York consumes 11 billion watt-hours per day, solarize those rooftops!

How many kilowatts is required to power a home?

Take a look at your electricity bill to see what your average usage is. Seek out “Note the length of time given in Kilowatt Hours (or kWh) or anything equivalent (usually 30 days). Look for beginning and ending meter readings and deduct the previous reading from the most recent one if your bill doesn’t reflect kilowatt hours utilized.

If your statement does not show a daily average, split the monthly or yearly average by 30 or 365 days, respectively, and then divide by 24 to get your hourly average power usage. Your answer will be in kilowatts (kW). (In case you’re wondering, a kilowatt-hour is equal to the amount of electricity you’re consuming at any particular time multiplied by the whole amount of time you’re using it.)

A small home in a temperate area might consume 200 kWh per month, whereas a larger home in the south, where air conditioners account for the majority of residential energy consumption, might use 2,000 kWh or more per month. The average American household consumes 900 kWh per month. That works out to 30 kWh per day or 1.25 kWh every hour.

Your desired daily average for calculating your solar demands is your typical daily energy usage. That’s how many kilowatt-hours your solar system needs to produce to meet most, if not all, of your electricity needs.

It’s vital to keep in mind that solar panels don’t run at full capacity 24 hours a day. (For further information, see Solar 101: How Does Solar Energy Work?). Weather conditions, for example, can affect the efficiency of your system temporarily. As a result, experts advise including a 25% increase “To ensure that you can generate all of the clean energy you require, add a cushion to your target daily average.

How many acres does it take to produce one megawatt of solar power?

A 1 watt solar power plant requires around 100000 square feet, or 2.5 acres. Because large ground-mounted solar PV farms require space for other accessories, a 1 MW solar power plant will require approximately 4 acres of land.

In a MW, how many kWh are there?

There are 1,000 kilowatt-hours in a megawatt-hour, just as there are 1,000 kilowatts in a megawatt.

Because megawatt-hours are so much higher in size, your power bill is measured in kilowatt-hours. Although your electricity usage is rarely expressed in megawatt-hours (MWh), utilities, for example, do so frequently.