Although solar power has been around for some time, it has seen a massive spike in its usage in recent years. Since fossil fuels are being phased out due to climate change, the interest in renewable sources of energy has skyrocketed.
Today, 3.6% of global energy comes from solar, surpassed only by hydro and wind. Governments and the public are debating the effectiveness of solar vs. wind farms and understanding what’s better for their communities. One question that often arises in people’s minds is how to maximize solar panel efficiency.
Clean me sign written on dirty solar panels.
Therefore, this article will give you some excellent solar panel tips for benefiting most from your solar investment.
Regular maintenance of any electrical equipment is crucial for it to perform at its best, and solar panels are no different. They work only when exposed to sunlight, but that can also lead to their downfall, given the wear and tear.
Although solar panels can live up to 25 years on average, they may not perform optimally due to poor maintenance.
Let’s look at some important ways to maintain your solar panels.
Solar panels are meant to be placed out in the open to get maximum sunlight. As a result, they’re exposed to debris, dust, and snow. This buildup can initially result in a 7% loss of solar panel efficiency but can go as high as 50% in worst- case scenarios.
So, cleaning your solar panels is necessary if you want to save some bucks. Here is how to do it:
Step 1: Either get a soft-bristled brush or a high-pressure hose. If you get a brush, ensure it has soft bristles not to damage the panels. Also, use distilled or deionized water, as tap water might damage the panels.
Step 2: Always shut down the electric system before cleaning to avoid shocks. Even if you’re grounded, there is no point in taking the risk.
Step 3: Stay on the ground while cleaning, as staying on the roof can increase the risk. Therefore, it’s always preferable to have a long brush or hose.
Step 4: Do not apply the soap directly; mix it with water to avoid any stains on the surface of the solar panels.
Always check your solar panels for any defects or damages, which include cracks, broken glass, chips, corroded connections, etc. If these issues aren’t addressed, they reduce solar panel efficiency. They can also lead to a complete failure of the solar system in the long run if you don’t repair them in time.
Birds and rodents can chew the wiring of your solar panels and cause electrical issues. They can invade the tightest spaces and render your solar system useless if you don’t have adequate protection against them. Wildlife guards can be an excellent solution if you live in an area that often experiences pest- related problems.
Trees and vegetation around solar panels cause shade, block sunlight, and reduce solar panel efficiency. Here is how to trim problematic vegetation:
It is no news that solar panels need maximum exposure to sunlight to perform at their best. Therefore, the position of solar panels is critical if you want to gain maximum benefits from them. Let’s discuss the best directions and angles for your solar panels.
The most important thing in solar panel efficiency is the direction in which it is placed. Here, you must move the solar panels with the sun’s movement. Setting your solar panels’ direction depends on whether you’re north or south of the equator.
Those living in the north of the equator should direct their solar panels toward the south. On the other hand, those living south of the equator should orient their solar panels towards the north.
People in the Northern Hemisphere shouldn’t install their solar panels on the north side of their roofs. Although it is technically possible to do that, you might need special mounting to oppose the roof’s slant. If there is no other option, you’ll need to opt for ground-mounted solar panels.
The angle of a solar panel means its tilt relative to the ground. For instance, a solar panel perpendicular to the ground has a 90-degree tilt. Maximum solar panel efficiency is possible when the sunlight hits the panels as perpendicularly as possible.
The angle at which you should place your solar panels is affected by multiple factors, such as latitude, roof design, and time of year. Let’s look at all of them in detail below.
The ideal solar panel installation angle is between 30° to 45° in the United States. Always try to tilt your solar panels to stay within this range to ensure
maximum solar panel efficiency. However, a few degrees don’t make much difference in this regard.
For example, you’ll decrease the output of your solar system by only 10° after tilting it down to 5°.
Not all roofs are designed the same way and don’t lie between the ideal range of 30 and 45 degrees. If the roof is too steep, you might not be able to set your solar panels optimally on it. In that case, you must place them flat on the roof. Similarly, low-angle roofs face the opposite problem. People with flat roofs might need mounting systems, but that could reduce the size of their solar system. As a result, the overall capacity will dwindle significantly, and you might not be able to make the savings you initially intended.
Solar panel efficiency takes a dip in winter, as the sun is low in relation to the
1 horizon in the Northern hemisphere. One way of getting around this issue is to set your solar panels at a steeper angle than your latitude. Doing that will let your solar panels collect more sunlight as the sun shines from a lower point in the sky.
Adjust the solar panels’ angle twice a year in spring and fall. If you have placed your system at 40°, it can see a 4% boost in solar panel efficiency. Mid- September and Mid March are the best time to make these adjustments.
Getting quality energy storage is crucial if you really want to up the game in solar panel efficiency. Otherwise, you’ll waste the extra energy produced by
your solar panels. When you install a battery to store the excess energy from your solar system, you can use it when sunlight isn’t available and see a significant reduction in your energy bills.
Let’s discuss all the benefits of solar panels in detail.
Solar panels produce energy when the sun is shining but stop production when the sun sets. So, if you don’t have any storage, you can use solar power only during the day and rely on other sources at night. Using energy storage, you ensure that you have continuous power, whether night or day, cloudy or clear.
Load management refers to using energy when you need it and avoiding it when you don’t. By combining solar panels with energy storage, you can charge your batteries during hours of low demand and discharge them during peak hours. It can be a game changer in boosting solar panel efficiency and reducing your electricity bills.
Using energy storage for solar panels also makes it easier to be used as a backup power source. Whenever the main energy line trips because of storms or any other reason, you can use solar power and keep essential appliances running. It can be a lifesaver in many situations when you don’t know when the power from the grid will be restored.
Solar panels are green and getting even better at making the most out of the sunlight they receive. Most efficient solar panels can convert up to 23% of the sunlight they receive, making them a worthwhile investment. On your part, clean them regularly without using any abrasive materials, optimize their placement, and invest in quality energy storage.
If you’re also looking to install solar panels, Solgen’s $0 Down Solar Program can be your perfect companion. It is designed for homeowners to become the masters of their own energy without any payments until the installation is completed.
We at Solgen have a mission to give our people a bright and promising future through solar energy. By partnering with us, you will enjoy solar power’s environmental and economic benefits without paying anything in advance. So, become part of the Solgen family today by getting a free quote and step into the new era of energy production & usage with your first solar installation.