It’s no secret that a solar power system comes with a high upfront cost. The equipment and installation will likely run you tens of thousands of dollars, even if you take advantage of rebates and tax deductions. However, Tips for Maximizing the Efficiency of Your Solar the hope is that your energy production will eventually pay for itself over the years. But that’s not likely to happen if your system isn’t generating solar power efficiently. Tips for Maximizing the Efficiency of Your Solar Efficiency is key in building a solar power system that offers you a return on your upfront investment. What can you do to improve that efficiency? Keep reading to get a few tips. Tips for Maximizing the Efficiency of Your Solar
Ensure Proper Installation By Solar
First and foremost, it’s essential to ensure that your solar panels are correctly installed and at an ideal angle to capture as much sunlight as possible. Ideally, you want panels installed in a south-facing location with the right pitch to capture the most sunshine throughout the day. Having your panels at a proper slope will also help keep them clean (more on the importance of this in a moment). A professional solar installer will be able to help make sure that this is done properly so you can get the most direct sunlight on your panels possible throughout the day.
Keep Them Clean For Solar
Generally speaking, your solar panels don’t need much attention to run efficiently after they’ve been installed. However, it’s a good idea to make sure they stay clean. Accumulations of dust and dirt will reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches your panels’ photovoltaic (PV) cells. As mentioned above, a proper angle will help prevent this buildup. However, it’s still good to rinse off your panels a couple of times a year to allow more efficient energy conversion.
Leave Space between Panels and Roof
This is another important consideration during the installation process. You want to ensure at least 6 inches of space between the backs of your panels and your home’s roof. That’s why panels are mounted on elevated racks instead of directly onto the roof itself. This space allows for airflow on all sides of the panel, carrying away any excess heat the panels generate—and, yes, they can get very, very hot. Because high temperatures can reduce the efficiency of your panels, that airflow is important for generating as much power as possible.
Cut Back Tree Limbs
Shading is the arch-nemesis of efficient solar power production. As much as you may love the beautiful shade trees in your yard, they’re reducing your energy production every time they cast a shadow on your home. If you have tall trees growing close to your home, trim back the branches to reduce the shading on your panels as much as possible. This is especially important for systems with a string inverter; with an inverter of this type, shading on even one panel will drag down the efficiency of the entire solar panel array.
Choose Your Inverter Wisely
Speaking of inverters, choosing the right one for your system is also important for efficient power production. String inverters are the most popular option but not necessarily the most efficient (especially if you have a roof that is frequently in partial shade). Adding power optimizers to each panel can help offset the negative impact of shading and drive up efficient solar power production. Or, if you prefer, you can opt to attach individual microinverters to each panel on your roof. These do the same job as an inverter but convert the power directly from each panel instead of funneling it to a single, central inverter. Again, this prevents shading on one panel from negatively impacting the production of any other panels in the array.
Consider a Battery Bank
While a battery bank won’t make your panels or inverter any more efficient, it will allow you to get more out of your solar power system. Even if your system is grid-tied and your city allows for net metering, the credits you receive from the city for your excess solar power will still be subject to peak utility rates. This means that you’ll likely receive the lowest possible credit from your daytime energy production; then, when the sun begins to go down, and you need another power source, you’ll be paying peak rates to get back those watts you fed into the grid a few hours before. A battery bank allows you to use your own solar power even after the sun goes down, so you get more from your system.
Follow these tips to keep your solar power system working as efficiently as possible and get the most out of your investment. Install those panels properly, keep them clean, choose the right solar inverters, and consider adding a battery bank for further versatility in your system.
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