4 Tips On Increasing Solar Panel Efficiency

The most sustainable source of energy, solar energy converts light into electricity. The solar panels provide electricity to buildings, which allows workers to continue their daily tasks using a renewable energy source. Equipping a facility with solar panels is one of the greenest actions to take within infrastructure. Not only are solar panels good for the environment  eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and declining the use of fossil fuel–they also save money on electric bills. There are many factors that can impact the efficiency of solar panels. They don’t work in all situations and they do not perform flawlessly. Learn how to improve solar panel efficiency and increase your energy source with these four tips.

1. Shade

Problem: Solar panels are greatly inhibited by shade, which is a form sun blockage. While shade is not always equivalent to clouds, it does not completely block sunlight from panels. Under hazy conditions, panels still get sunlight and convert it to electricity. How they are connected internally is what makes shade bars efficient for solar panels. One panel may have multiple cells wired to increase the voltage. The whole module will convert less energy if there is shade on even a small portion of it.

Solution: True shade, or the one most harmful for solar panels, takes the form of nearby trees and infrastructural barriers like chimneys and vents. It is almost impossible to move a chimney. However, it is possible to trim high-rising trees.

2. Weather

Problem: The weather conditions are a significant factor in the performance of solar panels. Although hail and snow can cause solar panels to stop functioning, they are not enough to completely shut them down. Snow panels can melt snow from their surfaces, but hail cannot penetrate the panels’ glass. Most U.S. panels can withstand hailstones 1″ and smaller at 50+ mph. Surprise, solar panel efficiency is affected by high temperatures. Why? Despite being quite strange, warm weather is not as favorable to energy conversion as you might think. According to a UK study, solar panel conversion drops by 1.1% for every 42 degree Celsius increase (or 107 degrees Fahrenheit). Summer weather is when production drops, with temperatures ranging from 87 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit. High temperatures are responsible for this negative effect. Electricity production depends on electron movement.

Solution: Solar cells are more efficient when it is hotter because less energy is required to excite electrons. Cooler, sunnier weather is better for solar panel efficiency.

3. Orientation

Problem: Solar panels that face a specific direction, such as east or north, can be considered to have poor orientation. What is solar panel orientation? It refers to the direction of the solar panels. Because they are dependent on sunlight, and some positions don’t allow them to receive the best sunlight, it can become problematic.

Solution: Solar panels should be placed in such a way as to receive the maximum amount of sunlight. They should face south in the United States. They should also face west during peak power demand times, which are usually in the summer. There has been much debate about which direction is best, west or south. Both southward- and westward-oriented panels will benefit from solar panel orientation. The time period was partly responsible for the differences in conversion between these orientations. The maximum sunlight conversion occurs when panels face west between 3-7 p.m. In summer, panels facing west received a greater amount of conversion. Annually, however, the best location was at 219 degrees.

4. Upkeep

Problem: Solar panels can be damaged by common congestions such as dust and dirt. Why? Because these clogs can block sunlight from reaching the solar cells. This results in lower efficiency and less sunlight exposure. They accumulate over time, and the more they block the sun, the less efficient the solar panels will become.

Solution: Solar panels require very little maintenance. Solar panel preservation requires light maintenance, such as regular cleaning. You can clean the dust off the modules with soapy water and wipes. Sometimes, rain will also work. There is no set cleaning frequency. The power of your solar panels will determine how often you clean them. They will become more clogged as they age.

Solar Panel Efficiency Ratings

These factors are not the only factor that determine solar panel efficiency. Ratings that indicate the solar panel’s efficiency are used to measure how much sunlight is entering a panel and how much of that energy is converted into electricity. This is called conversion rate. Most efficient solar panels have a rating range of 11-15%. Solar panels with the highest efficiency have conversion rates of around 20%. The highest efficiency solar cell currently has a conversion rate of 44%. Multi-junction concentrators are also responsible for this high conversion rate. Solar panels with lower conversion rates require more surface area in order to function as efficiently as solar panel.

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