There are a few hacks to ensure the optimum output from the solar panels. This article highlights five various methods of solar panel optimization.
5 Ways to Optimize Your Solar Panels
1. Use high-efficiency Solar Panels
Using solar panels that are right for your requirements is a battle half-won!
Some solar panels are cheaper while some offer higher watt per square foot for more price. You have to open the spreadsheet and calculate the figures before a purchase.
The goal is to reduce your electricity bills. Therefore, act wisely before the purchase of solar panels and make sure that you are getting the cheapest electricity from a reputable manufacturer. Low-cost solar panels with fewer energy outputs might be uneconomical.
2. Make sure the solar panels are clean
By keeping the surface of the solar panels clean, you need to ensure that there is more surface area for them to absorb the sunlight. This, in turn implies that more electricity will be generated.
Dust and other elements cause shading. “Due to shading, the solar panels lose up to 25% of their capacity”, states a report by National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Periodic inspections or using a monitoring service will warn you of any such inefficiency in the solar panels.
Moreover, to avoid shading, you must clean your solar panels regularly. For cleaning purposes, use warm water and soap or use a car wash jet if the rooftop has the space for it.
3. Keep the solar panels cool
Solar panels are made of semiconductors. Semiconductors have a nature to decrease performance with rising temperature.
That’s why CPUs slow down with overheating. But solar panels can’t be used without the sun, so they evidently they get warmer. Therefore, there must be at least 7-inches of space between the solar panels and the roof for natural cooling.
There is a range of cooling equipment available in the market. You can buy one if there is an absolute requirement.
4. The orientation of the Solar Panel
To get the most out of the solar panels, it has to point directly towards the sun and make a perpendicular with the rays of sunlight. The solar panels are fixed on the roof while the sun keeps changing position (we all know the Earth actually changes positions, but you get it!).
So to ensure the maximum production of energy, the solar panels need to be oriented with respect to the sun’s movement. For example, during winters in the northern hemisphere, the sun appears to be at a lower height.
This is because the atmosphere during winters is dense, scattering the sunlight. For any solar panels in such regions, less energy is produced at this time.
The Azimuth and Zenith Orientation
Azimuth is the compass angle of the sun as it moves from east to west. It is calculated with respect to true south and the position of the sun for the Northern hemisphere and vice versa.
At solar noon, the azimuth = 0 degree, means the sun is at true south for the northern hemisphere and true north for the southern hemisphere.
Zenith is the angle of elevation from ground level looking up, towards the sun. It varies according to the time of the day. Zenith is maximum at solar noon.
The orientation of the solar panels, also referred to as azimuth setting, can be done in a number of ways. It varies from place to place.
The Tilt or zenith setting is calculated after the azimuth setting is completed. This is an important factor in determining energy production. The minimum angle of tilt should be 15 degree and maximum 62 degrees.
It is very important to note that there should not be any shadows over the solar panel while adjusting. Include the surrounding in calculations.
5. Use better battery solutions
Most of the energy produced by the solar panels is not used immediately. The energy produced by the solar panels is stored in batteries.
If the batteries and inverters are not efficient, the whole system loses energy. So, to increase the effectiveness of the solar panels the storage solution must be efficient. Newer battery systems have better capacities and longevity, and utilize the latest technologies to give you better value for your money.
Everything needs maintenance and a little effort on your part. Little efforts, like the ones mentioned above, can yield immense benefits for you.
Employ the above-mentioned hacks and you will surely feel the difference in your solar panels’ performance.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.