How to Get the Most Out of Your Solar Panels
1. Pick your positioning wisely
"When discussing things like the roof design for a solar system, the positioning of the panels are paramount to the effectiveness of the systems’ performance throughout the day. The daily sunlight hours and the peak production times in the dwellings’ location will also impact the decision on how to position the panels."
"The installer must consider elevating the panels a few centimetres off the roof. Some kind of ventilation system may need to be added to the solar array to ensure that there will be a free airflow above and below the panels when they are mounted. For example, fans, or water evaporative cooling could be used."
"When choosing the location of the PV System, consider installing the panels where there is good natural ventilation such as a crosswind and outside of shaded areas."
2. Avoiding Shade
"When a solar system is installed, the shading on the property is one of the key things that is assessed and considered. It’s important to avoid shading panels as they will not produce power on a string of panels, even if just one panel contains a shaded area. To combat this, the use of optimisers on your panels as part of the installation process is key. Both the sales consultants and the installations team will review and consider this prior to a system install," says Jonah.
3. Cleaning panels
"It's recommended that all solar system owners should be cleaning their panels every 2 years to allow for the best absorption of sunlight and remove any residue caused by the elements that could be limiting this," says Jonah.
"Be cautious about hosing down your panels during the hottest part of the day, as the sudden temperature shock could make the glass crack and irreversibly damage your panels. And when your panels are covered by snow (rarely the case for Australia), do not try to get it off as you might damage the panel. Allow it to slide off on its own, or hire a professional team to do the job and clean the panels when needed."
BHG cleaning tips
- Clean your solar panels if they are exceptionally dirty or covered in grime and bird dropping, as this can limit the amount of light they absorb.
- Never use abrasive or mineral-rich water to wash your panels, as this can damage them.
4. Temperature control
"The temperature of the environment in which the solar system is installed is something that is considered when the panels are selected and how they are positioned on the roof. All panels have an optimal cell temperature and each manufacturer will test panels to extreme conditions on both ends of the spectrum to be able to understand the optimal temperatures for best results during production," says Jonah.
"An important factor that the installation team will consider is the temperature coefficient. Operating in temperatures colder than the designed ambient temperature will imply positive results, increasing the panel's efficiency and power output. But warmer environments may require the need for modules with a temperature coefficient, to reduce the possible temperature impact. The solar system installers will consider things like cross-winds and layouts of the panels on the roof to maximise the efficiency of the system and allow for peak performance."
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