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Rules of thumb: Expected performance of PV systems

Estimating the expected output of a PV electric system is an involved process. First, there are site-specific variables -- like the pitch and orientation of the array, shading, mean temperature and solar irradiance. Then, there are system-specific variables: system size, cell efficiency and degradation rates, module mismatch, panel soiling (the accumulation of dust and dirt), electrical loss due to wiring, etc. Assessed with prudence, these variables can provide a pretty accurate look at the future electricity output (in kWh) of a given system.

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