How big is a solar panel? A guide to the different sizes and dimensions of solar panels

Solar panels consist of solar cells that are wired together to convert sunlight into energy. The bigger the solar panel, the more power it produces.

There’s a variety of solar panel sizes on the market. However, in this article, I’ll focus on:

  • Residential solar panels: which are used in solar home installations.
  • RV solar panels: used in off-grid solar installations (RVs, boats, campers, skoolies, etc..).

How big is a residential solar panel

Residential solar panels are generally designed to produce between 300 and 400 watts each. And even though some are more efficient than others, the dimensions and areas of residential solar panels are pretty much standard.

In general, the length of residential solar panels is usually between 65 inches (1.65m) and 79 inches (2m), their width is between 39 and 41 inches (around 1m). The area of a residential solar panel is between 18 ft² and 22 ft².

The following section explains the different types of residential solar panels and their dimensions.

Residential solar panel dimensions

The solar panels used in home solar installation usually consist of 60 or 72 solar cells. 72 cell solar panels produce more power and are generally bigger, but 60 cell solar panels are generally more popular.

On average, 60 cell solar panels are 65 inches (1.65m) long, 40 inches (1m) wide, and about 1.5 inches (38mm) thick. The area of a 60 cell solar panel is generally about 18 ft² (1.68m²).

The average length, width, and thickness of a 72 cell solar panel are 79 inches (2m), 40 inches (1m), and 1.5 inches (38mm) respectively. On average, the area of a 72 cell solar panel is 22 ft² (2m²).

Another type of residential solar panels are solar panels with half-cut solar cells. This technology is fairly new and has been marketed as a mitigating solution to solar panel shading.

The cells in half-cut solar panels are the same cells used in regular solar panels, but cut in half and wired differently. The amount of used materials is the same, but this new topology results in better outputs in cases of partial shading.

Related: Learn more about the effects and solutions of solar panel shading

For example, the equivalent of a 60 cell solar panel is a 120 half-cut cell solar panel. The equivalent of a 72 cell solar panel is a 144 half-cut cell solar panel.

120 half-cut cell solar panels are roughly the same size as 60 cell solar panels, and 144 half-cut cell solar panels are roughly the same size as 72 cell solar panels.

how big is a solar panel

The following table compares the sizes of some of the most popular 60 cell and 120 half-cut cell solar panels:

Number of cells Solar Panel Model Rated Power Dimensions (L*W*H)  Area
60 cells LG NeON® R Series 365 – 380 Watts 67*40*1.6 inches (1,700*1,016*40mm) 18.6 ft² (1.72 m²)
Canadian Solar SUPERPOWER series 290 – 305 Watts 65*39.1*1.57 inches (1650*992*40mm) 17.6 ft² (1.63 m²)
FuturaSun FU-M series 300 – 315 Watts 65*39*1.38 inches (1650*990*35mm) 17.6 ft² (1.63 m²)
120 half-cut cells Q Cells Q.PEAK series 325 – 335 Watts 66.4*39.4*1.3 inches (1685*1000*32mm) 18.1 ft² (1.68 m²)
Panasonic EverVolt Series 360 – 370 Watts 67.8*40*1.2 inches (1721*1016*30mm) 18.8 ft² (1.74 m²)
REC Twin Peak 4 Series 360 – 375 Watts 69.1*41*1.2 inches (1755*1040*30mm) 19.7 ft² (1.83 m²)
Dimensions of different residential solar panels.

The following table compares the sizes of some of the most popular 72 cell and 144 half-cut cell solar panels:

Number of cells Solar Panel Model Rated Power Dimensions (L*W*H)  Area
72 cells LG NeON® 2 72cell Series 390 Watts 79.7*40.3*1.57 inches (2024*1024*40mm) 22.3 ft² (2 m²)
Hyundai HiS-RI Solar Panels 330 – 360 Watts 77.2*39.3*1.57 inches (1,960*998*40mm) 21.1 ft² (1.96 m²)
Canadian Solar MAXPOWER Series 325 – 340 Watts 78.7*39.1*1.57 inches (2000*992*40mm) 21.4 ft² (1.98 m²)
144 half-cut cells Canadian Solar KuMax series 380 – 400 Watts 78.7*39.1*1.38 inches (2000*992*35mm) 21.4 ft² (1.98 m²)
JinkoSolar’s JKM390M-72H 390 Watts 79.1*39.5*1.6 inches (2008*1002*40mm) 21.7 ft² (2 m²)
REC TwinPeak 2S MONO 72 Series 370 – 400 Watts 78.9*39.4*1.2 inches (2005*1001*30mm) 21.6 ft² (2 m²)
Dimensions of different residential solar panels.

Some solar panels used in residential installations have different numbers of cells. Like the Canadian Solar CS1H series, which has 66 cells, or like the SunPower® X-Series, which has 96 cells.

But these solar panels will generally have smaller cells and are the same size as standard 60 cell solar panels. Learn more about solar cell dimensions.

How many solar panels can I fit on my roof?

When trying to measure your roof for solar, the square footage of your roof is not the only thing that matters. You need to take into account the surrounding trees and objects on your roof that might shade the solar panels.

Even the small shade cast by a chimney can have a negative impact on the overall production of your system.

Furthermore, in the U.S. (or north hemisphere in general), north-facing roof sections are generally avoided in solar installation, because these roof sections don’t get enough sunlight.

A professional solar installer will perform all the necessary due diligence, in the meantime, tools such as Google’s Project Sunroof can help you get a pretty accurate estimate of the usable square footage of your roof.

All you have to do is enter an address, and the tool will tell you how much of the space on your roof can be used to install solar panels.

how big is a solar panel

Once you have an estimate of your usable roof space, you can use the following calculator to get an estimate of the number of solar panels and the size of the system (in kW) that you can install on your roof:

To read more about other factors in play, such as solar panel orientation and fire setback codes, please refer to this article: How many solar panels can I fit on my roof.

However, chances are your roof has more than enough space to fit all the solar panels that you need. The question is how much solar power do you actually need?

To learn more about your specific solar energy requirements and how much solar you need, please refer to this article: How many solar panels do I need?

How big is an RV solar panel?

Compared to residential solar panels, solar panels used in RV and off-grid installations are much smaller and generally only produce about a third of the power produced by the average residential solar panel.

They also produce a relatively lower voltage that is more compatible with traditional 12V batteries.

The exact dimensions of these panels generally depend on the model itself. However, on average, RV solar panels are 40 inches (1m) long, and 20 inches (0.5m) wide, and cover an area of about 6 ft² (0.55m²).

RV solar panel dimensions

In RV, boat, or off-grid solar systems in general, both rigid or flexible solar panels are used. These off-grid solar panels usually have 36 cells (4×9 or 3×12) and produce about 100 watts of power.

As mentioned above, on average, the length and width of RV solar panels are 40 inches (1m) and 20 inches (0.5m).

how big is a solar panel

The average length of flexible solar panels is slightly higher than that of rigid solar panels. This is because the junction box is located at the top in the front of the panel, instead of its rear.

However, the major difference between rigid and flexible solar panels is the weight. Flexible solar panels are much lighter.

To learn more about the weights of RV solar panels, please refer to this article: How much do RV solar panels weigh?

The following table compares the dimension of some of the most popular RV solar panels:

Solar Panel Model Rated Power Dimensions (L*W*H) Area 
Renogy 100 Watts 42.4*20.0*1.4 inches (1080*508*35mm) 5.9 ft² (0.55 m²)
HQST 100 Watts 32.5*26.4*1.18 inches (825*670*30mm) 5.96 ft² (0.55 m²)
Eco-Worthy 100 Watts 39.8*20.1*1.4 inches (1010*510*35mm) 5.55 ft² (0.51 m²)
WindyNation 100 Watts 40*26.4*1.2 inches (1015*670*30mm) 7.32 ft² (0.68 m²)
SunPower SPR-E-Flex-110 110 Watts 45.9*21.9*0.1 inches (1165*556*2mm) 7 ft² (0.65 m²)
Rich Solar 100 Watts 41.3*20.9*0.1 inches (1050*760*2mm) 6 ft² (0.56 m²)
Dimensions of different RV solar panels.

How many solar panels can I fit on my RV?

Other than the classification and size of your RV, the number of solar panels that can fit on your RV really depends on the design of the roof.

For example, the roof of a Class C RV can have an area of about 200ft², but with things like ventilation covers and skylights sticking out, the usable roof space is much less than that.

With these things taken into consideration, the following table estimates the number of solar panels that could fit on different kinds of RVs:

RV classification est. Number of Solar Panels est. System size in Watts
Class A 10 to 15 1000 to 1500 Watts
Class B 3 to 4 300 to 400 Watts
Class C 5 to 8 500 to 800 Watts
Destination Trailer 10 to 15 1000 to 1500 Watts
Fifth Wheel 10 to 15 1000 to 1500 Watts
Truck Camper 3 to 4 300 to 400 Watts
Different RV classifications and the number of solar panels that can fit on their roofs.

On average, class A RVs, destination trailers, and fifth wheels can fit around 12 solar panels (100W). Class B and Class C recreational vehicles (along with truck campers) are smaller and have less available roof space, these RVs can only fit 4-6 solar panels on average.

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Younes
Younes

Hi! My name is Younes. I'm an electrical engineer and a renewable energy enthusiast. I created renewablewise.com with a mission of delivering digestible content and information to the people who seek it.

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