As electricity prices continue to rise, many Australians are now turning to solar panels to power their appliances. If you already have a solar PV system installed at home, you have taken the first step to reducing your electricity bill.
The next step is improving your solar panel efficiency. In a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, data showed that almost 20% of rooftop solar systems were not functioning properly.
Solar power efficiency means that solar panels are capturing the most energy from sunshine and turning it into usable electricity. The rate of efficiency is dependent on the type of solar panel, the direction of the sun, maintenance and care, and system setup.
Tip to increase solar panel efficiency
To make sure that you are getting the most out of your solar PV system, find out how you can increase solar panel efficiency.
Maximise your roof
Solar panel efficiency starts with the incoming sunlight hitting the PV modules. Efficiency is at its highest when you have the lowest number of solar panels generating the highest amount of energy.
Find the best orientation
Install solar panels properly to receive maximum sunlight. In Australia, the best orientation is 219 degrees southward and westward.
If necessary, install a solar array mounting on the ground to get the tilt and angle right.
Monitor temperature level
Excess heat can affect the efficiency of your solar panels. Allow air to move freely along gaps between the panels to prevent overheating.
Install your solar panels away from trees and other shade. PV cells should tilt in such a way that they receive direct sunlight from 8 am until 4 pm.
Check your panels in the morning to ensure that they are free of obstruction. As little as 5% shade can reduce solar performance by as much as 50%.
Trim any trees that are covering your panels. If power lines or nearby buildings cause shading, ask your solar installer how you can move the panels into full daylight.
Clean your solar panels
Dust should be cleared from your solar panels whenever it rains. However, the build-up of grease, grime, and bird droppings can affect solar production, especially if panels are slightly flat instead of tilted.
Clean your solar panels at least twice a year, removing dried leaves and other dirt that has accumulate over time. Do not use an abrasive cleaner or cloth as these can scratch the glass panel.
If you are not confident climbing the roof, spray the panels with a hose from the ground. You can also hire a professional solar panel cleaning company to do the dirty work.
Charge in a cool place
Charge solar panels in an area with adequate ventilation. Excessive heat can slow down the charging speed.
Limit appliance usage when charging
Multiple appliances that are running at the same time can drastically reduce power efficiency. Take a shower after doing the laundry or turn off the television if you are about to cook.
Solar panels work more efficiently if your home is also designed to run on lower energy consumption. Install LED lamps instead of incandescent bulbs. Cool your home with a roof turbine instead of turning on the air conditioner. Check for leaks and gaps regularly. Air-dry your clothes instead of using a dryer. Cook with gas instead of electricity.
Invest in a solar tracker
Solar trackers should automatically turn your solar panels in the direction of the sun as it moves from east to west. These devices can improve exposure with 20% to 30% efficiency.
Consider upgrading your system
If your solar panels are getting old, or you initially opted for a cheaper system due to budget constraints, maybe it’s time to consider an upgrade.
Final tips for house owners
Check the power consumption rating of each appliance in your home. Read about the latest solar technology and new models of solar panels currently available in the market. Finally, ask for a second opinion from people who have recently installed solar systems.
Our experts at Aztech Solar, for instance, can help you find the best power system for your home so you can save up to 80% on your energy bill. Ask for a quote today.