Solar energy is gaining significant momentum in Pakistan as a sustainable and cost-effective solution for residential power generation. And why not? Pakistan provides an ideal environment for harnessing solar power. While solar systems come in many sizes, the 3 kW solar system has become a popular choice for homeowners. This has much to do with our home size and modest energy consumption.
A 3-kW solar system strikes an attractive balance between affordability and generation capacity, making it an attractive residential option. If you are exploring the 3kW solar system, stay with us.
In this article, we will discuss:
- How much power can a 3kW solar system generate?
- How can your location impact the output of your 3kW solar system?
- What can I power with a 3kW solar system?
- The average price of 3kW solar systems in Pakistan
- Is a 3kW solar system the right choice for you?
- Benefits of installing a 3kW solar PV system
First, let’s understand some basics.
How Much Power Can a 3kW Solar System Generate?
On average, a 3kW solar system can generate between 9 to 18 units per day. That becomes around 270 kWh (units) to 450 units a month. But why is there so much difference between the power generation potential of solar systems?
To understand that, we will have to understand an important concept: solar irradiation. The following section will accurately explain how solar irradiation (peak sun hours) can impact the generation capacity of a solar system in different areas.
How Can Your Location Impact the Output of Your Solar System?
Before discussing location’s impact on your system, let’s understand one thing. A solar system designed to generate 3kW power may not always generate equal power in all locations.
It is because solar panels generate electricity when the sun is shining at its peak. In some areas, the sun shines for more hours, while in other areas, it is less. And here, were are talking about peak sun hours. Peak sun hours do not mean the hours between sunrise and sunset. They mean the solar insolation a particular area would receive when the sun’s intensity is highest for a specific number of hours.
If you want to know more about peak sun hours, read our guide to solar irradiation in Pakistan, where we have discussed everything in simpler terms, with the maps of Pakistan given.
An example would illustrate this:
Islamabad has around 4-5 peak sun hours (we will take it as 4); Quetta, on the other hand, has around 6-7 peak hours. Installing a 3kW solar system in Quetta would generate more power than a 3kW system installed in Islamabad. The reason is that Quetta receives more peak hours daily than Islamabad, hence giving the solar panel array more time to generate electricity.
The power generated by solar panels per day can be calculated as follows:
size of the solar array* x peak sun hours x efficiency factor = output power
For Islamabad, 3kW x 5 x 0.8 = 12 units per day [or 360 units monthly]
For Quetta, 6 x 3kW x 0.8 = 14.4 units per day [or 432 units per month]
The bottom line is that while the system will remain at 3kW, the power generated will still differ. Ensure you have accurately calculated your electricity needs before installing a 3kW system.
You might think that 360-432 units are too much—and this system would be enough for my needs. Is that so?
What Can You Power With a 3kW Solar System?
A 3kW solar system can power LED lights, fans, a refrigerator, a washing machine, and other small home appliances such as juicers and mixers. But it CANNOT power an air conditioner. For that, you will have to install a bigger system—a 5kW solar system, for example. 3kW solar systems cannot run big appliances like air conditioners. It is because even though the monthly generation is more, its instantaneous power is not enough to run an air conditioner. Doing that would trip your inverter.
That means if you have around 350 units of monthly consumption, a 3kW solar system would work for you. But if you want to run appliances that require more power, you will have to upgrade your system.
If you want to know more, here are further resources for your kind attention:
- How to Size an On-Grid Solar System for My House in Pakistan?
- How to Size a Hybrid Solar System for My House in Pakistan?
- How to Size an Off-Grid System for My House?
Suitability of 3kW Solar System for Different Types of Homes
As discussed, an ideal 3 kW solar system depends on both energy needs and home size. While it might suffice for small apartments with lower energy usage, medium-sized houses with moderate energy usage may also benefit from this solution.
Large residences may require larger systems due to higher energy demands. Therefore, homeowners should carefully analyze their consumption patterns as well as consult with solar professionals when determining if a 3 kW system would fit with their unique home size and energy demands.
Types of 3KW Solar Systems
There are three types of solar systems—on-grid solar systems, off-grid solar systems, and hybrid solar systems.
3kW On-Grid Solar System
On-grid systems are the most affordable, consisting of only solar panels and an inverter. Of course, there would be wiring and mounting structures, but that would come with any system. You can connect the system to the grid, apply for net metering, and generate power. If the power exceeds your consumption capacity, you can export it to the grid.
3kW Hybrid Solar System
A 3kW hybrid solar system would feature batteries, along with solar panels and a hybrid inverter. One of the benefits of a 3kW solar system is an uninterrupted power supply—as there are batteries that would cater to your needs when there is no electricity. Also, you will be qualified to avail the benefits of net metering.
3kW Off-Grid Solar System
Off-grid systems consist of batteries, solar panels, and an off-grid inverter. Since all power comes from batteries in off-peak hours, they are more expensive. Battery storage stores excess energy generated during the day to be used when sunlight isn’t present—doing this will increase the overall costs of the system, though. Here is how you can size your energy storage system (batteries).
So before making such a decision, you have to assess your backup power needs and financial feasibility when considering adding battery storage into 3kW solar systems. If you are not sure, worry not. Contact us, and we will help you design a system that works perfectly for you.
Average Cost Range for a 3 kW Solar System in Pakistan
As of June 2023, the average price range for a 3 kW solar system in Pakistan was approximately PKR PKR 700,000. Depending on the quality of components, warranties, and installation services, some systems might cost more. Conversely, you may also design a system for less than Rs. 650,000. Much depends upon your goals and needs.
Benefits of Installing a 3kW Solar System in Pakistan
An added benefit of a 3kW solar system is that it is more affordable than large systems. Other benefits, which are of solar power, generally, are listed below.
A 3 kW solar system offers homeowners various financial advantages. First, homeowners can significantly decrease monthly electricity bills by producing their own electricity. At times, you can make your electricity bill virtually zero.
Secondly, you may remain connected to the grid. Through net metering, you can even produce surplus electricity that they can feed back into the grid (WAPDA). Ultimately, if you consume more than you produce, your electricity supply company will charge you only for the units consumed. If you consume what your system generates, your electricity bill be almost zero.
And if you produce more than your consumption, your electricity company will pay you for the extra units generated based on the NEPRA’s net metering buy-back rate.
Utilizing a 3 kW solar system contributes significantly to environmental sustainability. Solar power is a renewable and clean energy source, cutting back on fossil fuel consumption while mitigating climate change’s effect. Furthermore, harnessing solar energy helps promote sustainable development for a greener future by harnessing an abundant and free resource like sunshine.
Maintenance Needs and Component Lifespan
As part of your 3 kW solar system research, it is vital to understand its maintenance requirements and component lifespans. Solar panels typically last 25-30 years with minimal upkeep needs such as cleaning panels or inspections to maintain optimal performance; inverters typically last between 10-15 years but could require replacement at some point throughout their lifespan.
Being aware of these considerations and the anticipated lifespan of system components enables homeowners to plan for the long-term operation and maintenance of their 3 kW system.
3kW Solar Panel System in Pakistan: Final Thoughts
Installing a 3kW solar system is a good investment, with a good payback period. In terms of capacity and power generation, a 3 kW solar system’s output is determined by the panel capacity, efficiency, and location, making it suitable for small apartments and medium-sized houses, although larger residences may require a larger system. Homeowners should also consider their energy consumption patterns and backup power needs, including the option of battery storage.