How to Increase the Efficiency of Your Solar Panels

Ashleigh AngellOctober 24, 20185210

How to Increase the Efficiency of Your Solar Panels

While solar panels don’t require a ton of maintenance and work, it is true that there are certain steps you can take to ensure you get the highest efficiency possible out of your solar panels, meaning you’ll get the most for your money. Read these four tips on how to increase the efficiency of your solar panels and you’ll keep them running in top shape for as long as possible.

Make Sure You Buy Quality Solar Panels and Choose the Correct Ones for Your Needs

The quality of solar panels you choose affects the efficiency of output. Solar photovoltaic cells are almost entirely comprised of silicon today. Purity of silicon is an important determinant affecting output. Crystalline silicon solar panels vary in their efficiency and output depending on purity of silicon cells.

In monocrystalline solar panels, large cylindrical-shaped silicon ingots are used which are then sliced into four to make up the solar cells. Monocrystalline solar arrays have distinctly uniform color and rounded edges. They are comparatively more efficient and heat resistant that polycrystalline solar panels, but they are also more expensive.

If you aren’t worried about how much space you have aviailable on your roof, you could go for polycrystalline solar arrays. Molten silicon is poured into square molds. Once cooled, perfectly square silicon wafers are cut out to form solar cells on arrays. This is a cheaper production process and hence polycrystalline solar cells are cheaper than monocrystalline solar cells. The cells are not very aesthetically pleasing, with a slightly speckled blue color. They also have a lower efficiency when compared to monocrystalline, but they still have a much higher efficiency than thin-film solar panels.

Make Sure Your Panels Aren’t Covered by Shade

If your panels are covered in shade, that will greatly affect their efficiency, and could even result in your panel stopping function all together. Usually solar cells are wired in series in a panel and if even a single cell is shaded or receives less sunlight than others, it can pull down the output of the rest of the cells in the series. If it stays like that long enough, it could completely ruin your solar panel system and stop it from functioning permanently.

You should ideally aim for a spot where there is no shade when you’re installing your solar panels. If new trees start sprouting up, make sure you trim them back. If avoiding shade is completely impossible, you’ll probably want to get ground-mounted panels, instead.

Make Sure Your Panels Are Facing and Tilting the Right Way

Solar arrays need to be oriented in the right direction to receive as much sunlight as possible in a day. In the United States, optimum orientation is the south, where your panels will receive sunlight for the longest part of the day.

The position and elevation of your home need to be taken into account when deciding on the alignment of solar panels. Experienced and qualified installers will be able to mount arrays optimally and offset any disadvantage in pitch of your home.

Solar trackers allow solar arrays to adjust position according to the changing movement of the sun, but they are often too expensive for home use.

If it is difficult to orient solar panels correctly on your roof, you can again consider getting a ground-mounted panel system, instead. Ground-mounted installation allows you to escape issues regarding shading, orientation and space restriction.

Make Sure You Keep Up With the Cleaning and Maintenance of Your Panels

While it’s true that maintenance on solar panels is minimal, it does still need to be done every once in a while.

Hosing down the panels every few months is all that is necessary in most cases. Just make sure your panels aren’t covered in tons of snow, dirt, dust, feces, leaves, etc. to ensure they don’t lose their efficiency due to a lack of good cleaning.

You’ll also want to get inspections from your solar company annually and monitor their efficiency. If you notice a severe drop, call your solar company right away to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Want to learn other ways to have the best-running solar panel system? Check out the HahaSmart blog!

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