How Much Does A 12kw Solar System Produce? | RenewableWise (2023)

A 12kW solar system is a relatively large system and would produce a relatively high amount of energy. However, the exact amount of energy that a 12kW solar system produces would depend on the amount of sunlight that it receives.

The amount of sunlight that a solar panel receives is quantifiable and depends on things weather and seasons, but mainly, it depends on your location.

In this article, I will show you how to determine the average amount of energy that a 12 kW system would be able to generate in your location, and I’ll also answer a couple of frequently asked questions.

How much does a 12kw solar system produce?

The amount of energy that a 12kW solar system produces each day (or month) will mainly depend on the following factors:

  • Location.
  • Tilt angle and direction.
  • Weather and season.

However, assuming the 12kW solar system is facing south, a system of this size would – on average – produce between 45 and 65 kWh of energy per day. This amount of energy equates to about 1400-2000 kWh of monthly energy production.

To give you an idea, the following table estimates the average daily and monthly energy production of a 12kW solar system for different states in the U.S.:

StateEst. Energy Production per day (kWh/day)Est. Energy Production per month (kWh/month)
Alabama55 kWh/day1700 kWh/month
Arizona65 kWh/day2000 kWh/month
Arkansas50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
California60 kWh/day1900 kWh/month
Colorado60 kWh/day1900 kWh/month
Connecticut50 kWh/day1500 kWh/month
Delaware50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Florida60 kWh/day1900 kWh/month
Georgia55 kWh/day1700 kWh/month
Hawaii50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Idaho50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Illinois50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Indiana50 kWh/day1500 kWh/month
Iowa45 kWh/day1500 kWh/month
Kansas50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Kentucky50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Louisiana55 kWh/day1700 kWh/month
Maine45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
Maryland50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Massachusetts45 kWh/day1500 kWh/month
Michigan40 kWh/day1300 kWh/month
Minnesota45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
Mississippi55 kWh/day1700 kWh/month
Missouri50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Montana45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
Nebraska55 kWh/day1700 kWh/month
Nevada60 kWh/day1900 kWh/month
New Hampshire45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
New Jersey50 kWh/ day1500 kWh/month
New Mexico70 kWh/day2100 kWh/month
New York45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
North Carolina55 kWh/day1700 kWh/month
North Dakota45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
Ohio45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
Oklahoma55 kWh/day1800 kWh/month
Oregon50 kWh/day1700 kWh/month
Pennsylvania45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
Rhode Island50 kWh/day1500 kWh/month
South Carolina55 kWh/day1700 kWh/month
South Dakota50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Tennessee50 kWh/day1500 kWh/month
Texas60 kWh/day1900 kWh/month
Utah55 kWh/day1800 kWh/month
Vermont40 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
Virginia50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
Washington50 kWh/day1600 kWh/month
West Virginia45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
Wisconsin45 kWh/day1400 kWh/month
Wyoming55 kWh/day1800 kWh/month

Please note that the information provided in the table was estimated using the PVWatts Calculator (provided by NREL). The daily and monthly energy production will generally be higher in the summer and lower in the winter.

Also, the information is based on the assumption that the solar array is facing south (Azimuth = 180 degrees) and is tilted at a 20-degree angle (4-5/12 Roof Pitch), and that the overall system losses add up to 14% (86% system efficiency).

However, the best way to get a personalized and more accurate estimate is to use the PVWatts Calculator yourself:

How Much Does A 12kw Solar System Produce? | RenewableWise (1)

Once you submit your address, the next step would be to change the default settings in the System Info section of the tool:

How Much Does A 12kw Solar System Produce? | RenewableWise (2)

In the System Info section, change the following settings:

DC System Size (kW):

In this case, the DC (Direct Current) system size is 12 kW (kiloWatts).

Tilt (deg):

This setting represents the tilt angle (roof pitch) of the section(s) of your roof on which you’ll install the solar panels. Make sure it’s an unshaded roof section that’s preferably facing south. If the south-facing section of your roof is shaded or too small, go for the East, South-East, South-West, or West-facing sections.

If you know the roof pitch of the section, you can click the “i” icon to determine its equivalent in degrees. If you don’t know the roof pitch of the section, you can measure the tilt angle using an app such as Measure for iOS or Bubble Level for Android.


Azimuth represents the direction that the roof section faces. For example, the azimuth for a south-facing roof section is 180 degrees, the azimuth for a north-facing section is 0 degrees.

To accurately determine the Azimuth, you can use a compass app such as Commander Compass Go for iOS or Azimuth Compass for Android.

The other settings will slightly impact the results, but not nearly as much as tilt and Azimuth settings.

Let’s use the following settings as an example:

  • Location: For the location, I’ll submit an address in Phoenix, AZ.
  • DC System Size: 12 kW
  • Tilt: For the tilt angle, I will assume that the solar panels are installed on a roof section that has a 7/12 roof pitch, which is equivalent to about 30 degrees.
  • Azimuth: I’ll also assume that the roof section is facing South-East, which equates to 135 degrees.

I’ve submitted these details to the calculator, and in the Results section, the following table was provided:

How Much Does A 12kw Solar System Produce? | RenewableWise (3)

Based on the location, the size of the system (12kW), and our description of the roof, the PVWatts Calculator has estimated the annual energy production to be 19650 kWh/year.

You can also see that the monthly energy production differs from month to month. The PV system will generate less energy in the winter as there will generally be less available sunlight.

Watch the following video for more information about the PVWatts Calculator:

How many solar panels does it take to make 12kW?

Residential solar panels differ in size, efficiency, and therefore, differ in power ratings. This means that the exact number of solar panels that you’ll need to create a 12 kW solar system will depend on which solar panels you’re using.

However, residential solar panels will generally be rated at 300-400 Watts, which means you would need around 30 to 40 residential solar panels to make up a 12 kW solar system.

The following table provides some of the most popular residential solar panels, their power ratings, and how many of them would be needed for a 12 kW system:

Solar Panel ModelRated PowerNumber of solar panels needed for a 12 kW system
LG NeON® R Series365 – 380 Watts32
Canadian Solar SUPERPOWER series290 – 305 Watts40
FuturaSun FU-M series300 – 315 Watts38
Panasonic EverVolt Series360 – 370 Watts34
REC Twin Peak 4 Series360 – 375 Watts34
LG NeON® 2 72cell Series390 Watts30
Hyundai HiS-RI Solar Panels330 – 360 Watts36
Canadian Solar MAXPOWER Series325 – 340 Watts36
Canadian Solar KuMax series380 – 400 Watts30
JinkoSolar’s JKM390M-72H390 Watts30
REC TwinPeak 2S MONO 72 Series370 – 400 Watts30

How much roof space do you need for a 12kW solar system?

On average, a single residential solar panel takes up around 20 ft² (1.72 m²) of space. Assuming the 12 kW solar system consists of 34-36 of these solar panels, such an installation would require around 650-750 ft² (60-70 m²) of roof space.

However, as mentioned above, the number of solar panels that you need for a 12 kW system, and the amount of space that these solar panels would take up, will depend on which solar panels you are using.

The following table provides some of the most popular solar panels, their respective areas, and the amount of space that would be required for a 12 kW system that’s made up of each of these panels:

Solar Panel ModelAreaRoof space needed for a 12 kW system
LG NeON® R Series18.6 ft² (1.72 m²)596 ft² (55.3 m²)
Canadian Solar SUPERPOWER series17.6 ft² (1.63 m²)704 ft² (65.4 m²)
FuturaSun FU-M series17.6 ft² (1.63 m²)668 ft² (62 m²)
Panasonic EverVolt Series18.8 ft² (1.74 m²)640 ft² (59.4 m²)
REC Twin Peak 4 Series19.7 ft² (1.83 m²)670 ft² (62.2 m²)
LG NeON® 2 72cell Series22.3 ft² (2 m²)670 ft² (62.2 m²)
Hyundai HiS-RI Solar Panels21.1 ft² (1.96 m²)760 ft² (70.6 m²)
Canadian Solar MAXPOWER Series21.4 ft² (1.98 m²)770 ft² (71.5 m²)
Canadian Solar KuMax series21.4 ft² (1.98 m²)642 ft² (59.6 m²)
JinkoSolar’s JKM390M-72H21.7 ft² (2 m²)651 ft² (60.5 m²)
REC TwinPeak 2S MONO 72 Series21.6 ft² (2 m²)648 ft² (60.2 m²)

To learn more about the different types of residential solar panels and their dimensions, please refer to the following page: How big is a solar panel?

Related: How many solar panels can you fit on your roof?

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