1. Use an efficient solar panel.
Solar cells use photovoltaic technology to convert sunlight into electricity. Even though solar panels are really good at what they do, they can only convert a fraction of light into electricity.
Modern-day solar panels have an efficiency of 15%, which means that they can convert 15% of the sunlight falling on their surface into electricity. This might seem really low, but it took years for the solar panels to reach this level.
Not all solar panels are created equal. Different brands offer different efficiencies. At first, a solar panel with 20% efficiency might look expensive, but it can easily offset its cost over time.
It would be best if you spent some time researching before choosing what you are going to buy.
2. Don’t install your solar panel in shaded areas.
This one might seem obvious, but few technicalities are involved that most people are not aware of.
Solar panels need sunlight to produce energy; the more sunlight they get, the more output they give. However, if you put it in a shaded place, it will lower the production directly and indirectly.
If one solar panel in a large array is shaded, it reduces the output of other panels by acting as a resistor. It’s essential to keep this in mind, especially when you are installing the panels on the ground.
3. Get panels with high concentrated (CPV) cells.
In CPV panels, the light is focused on cells with very high efficiency. The best quality solar panels in the market give out around 22% efficiency, but CPV cells can push that number to 46%
Well, I think you might have guessed by now that these panels don’t come cheap. However, you should still look into them and perform some calculations to see if they are the right fit for you.
4. Clean your solar panels regularly.
Solar panels need very little maintenance as they don’t contain moving parts. However, it would help if you still cleaned them occasionally to get the best results out of them.
The frequency of cleaning will depend on your location, how often it rains and how much does cleaning cost.
As dust accumulates on the surface of solar panels, it can reduce its efficiency by as much as 20%.
So it’s a good idea to clean your solar panels once in a few months.
5. Use energy management software.
Most people install solar panels, and once they are happy with the result, they forget about the panels. Without regular monitoring, it’s hard to know when efficiency is declining.
Understandably, this could be a chore and something that’s easily forgotten. To remedy that, you can put good old energy management softwares to use.
These softwares continuously monitor the efficiency of the solar panels and let you know when the efficiency goes down.
Moreover, these softwares also give you valuable analytics that can help you get better results and optimize your power output.
6. Use high-power devices during the day.
Another wise thing that you can do with your solar panels is to time their usage wisely.
We all know that they give out maximum output during the peak sun hours, often more than our requirements. You can store it, send it back to the grid, or use it to power your high wattage devices like dishwasher, washing machine, etc.
Several devices with a power rating above the maximum potential of your solar panels should be powered using battery storage, which brings us to our next point.
7. Employ good storage
Let me make a case for good battery storage using a simple fact. Without battery storage, you can only meet 50 to 80% of your daily power needs, but with a good battery, that number jumps to 90%.
Lithium-ion batteries are getting cheaper every day. 7 years ago; you would have to shell out double of what you are paying today for these batteries. It is predicted that this cost will go down even more. These batteries currently cost roughly $1000 per kilowatt of stored power than lead-acid batteries with $500 to $600 for a kilowatt of power.
These batteries also come with multiple funding options that vary by area that you live in. It does not make sense to have solar panels without battery storage, especially for residential purposes.
When we talk about the impact of weather on solar panels, the first thing that comes to mind is extreme hailstorms and snow barring their operations, but that’s not the case. Most solar panels available today can withstand a good amount of hailstorms without any damage. Moreover, the solar panels retain enough heat to melt snow.
Ironically, it’s the hot weather that messes up their function. After 42 degrees Celsius or 107 degrees Fahrenheit, with every single degree of temperature rise, the efficiency drops by 1.1%.
So the ideal weather for solar panels is cool sunny days rather than blazing hot times.
The direction towards which your solar panel face has a lot of impact on their power generation. North and east, for example, are considered to be wrong directions for solar panels. These directions do not grant optimal sunlight required for their functioning.
In the USA, the solar panels are supposed to be facing south or west. There is still a bit of debate about which direction is better amongst these two, but generally, these two work well.
Several studies point that if you take the annual average, 219 degrees works the best.
Solar panels are pretty much Maintainance free pieces of equipment. They rarely need any upkeep. However, you can conduct occasional checks to monitor dust and any changes in efficiency