In this day and age, more and more homeowners are switching to solar panels. Solar panels leave less of a carbon footprint on the environment while also allowing for cheaper energy bills for the consumer. Together this creates a powerhouse of positives that many people are drawn to. Ensuring that you’re getting the most output from your solar panel is the key to success.
Six factors that affect solar panel output include:
- Location of the Solar Panel
- The Overall Pitch of the Roof
- High Temperatures
- Keeping it Clear from the Shade
- Ensuring it is Kept Clean
- Cold and Wet Climates
Knowing what has a direct impact on your solar panel will allow you always to ensure you’re getting the ‘biggest bang for your buck.’ Solar power with a higher output allows you to spend less money while making sure that all of your electronic devices and appliances have a high-quality and reliable energy source. Let’s check out 6 major factors that affect solar panel output.
Six Major Factors that Affect Overall Solar Panel Output
A lot of people may think that they can slab a few solar panels on top of their roofs without thinking and call it a day, and that’s why installation should be left to the professionals. The overall placement of the solar panel will be decided on a number of different factors, so the homeowner or business owner can have the best output possible.
1. The Location of the Solar Panel
When it comes to your solar panel, remember the famous line “Location, location, location”! The location of the solar panel is going to have the biggest impact on output.
The biggest concern when it comes to location is whether or not your solar panels are getting an adequate amount of direct sunlight. If you are brand new to solar power, the easiest way to describe it is that solar panels use the rays from the sun to transfer into usable energy in homes and businesses.
Solar panels need sunlight in order to function, and a whole lot of it, too. In order to make sure that your solar panel is getting enough sunlight, always make sure that it’s located in the area of the roof that receives the most sunlight throughout the day.
If you’re installing during the summer, you need to also consider that during the winter, the sun’s position will change. Find a location for the solar panel that is going to receive ample amounts of sunlight year-round, not just during one specific season.
The right location will always produce the best results when it comes to solar power. Make sure you’re taking this into account when finding the right spot. Professional solar power installers will provide valuable information about the correct location for your home, so talking with an installer is always beneficial for the homeowner.
2. The Overall Pitch of the Roof
Knowing the importance of location is only half the battle; you also need to take into consideration the pitch of the roof as well. But what exactly does the roof have to do with solar panels?
Look around you: homes have a variety of different shapes and sizes when it comes to their roofs. Some may have a steeper incline, while others rely on a flatter surface area. What this means is that everyone will need to install their solar panels differently to go with the pitch of the roof.
Your solar panels must always have the right angle to receive direct sunlight throughout the year. If you are trying to catch the most sunlight, you want to avoid a place where the roof is tilted away from the sun most of the day.
A home with a steep pitch may need to add a little bit more angle to their solar panels, so they are able to receive ample amounts of sunlight. On the other hand, a business that has a completely flat roof won’t need to worry as much about angling as there won’t be anything blocking the sun rays from hitting the solar panels.
Again, it is best to chat with a professional solar panel installer to discuss the roof pitch and how to properly angle the solar panel for the best results. Remember that you must account for all of the seasons and understand that the sun will be in different locations depending on the season.
With the correct location of the solar panel and the right angulation, your solar panel will be able to receive adequate amounts of sunlight to transfer into energy. These key factors must be in place to get the most from your solar panel.
3. High Temperatures
You would think that the more sunlight an area has, the better it would be for the solar panels, right? For the most part, this is true. Since solar panels require plenty of sunshine to operate, a sunny location will ensure you’re getting the best results. But is lots of heat on your solar panels always a positive thing?
Extremely high temperatures can actually have an adverse effect on solar panels. In fact, it’s one of the biggest things to consider (besides location and roof pitch) when determining where to install solar panels.
Don’t let the fear of high temperatures scare you away from opting for solar panels, though. There’s a number of different things you can do to make sure that high temperatures don’t have a negative impact on your solar panels:
- Install the solar panels a few inches away from the roof. This is the easiest solution to ensuring that your solar panels don’t overheat. Giving the solar panels some space between the home will allow for the solar panel to cool down and allow for some movement and breeze alongside the back of the panel.
- Keep the inverters and combiners in the shade. The shade is a big no-no when it comes to installing solar panels, but if you’re in an area where high temperatures are a regular thing, then you might want to consider keeping the inverter and combiner in a shaded area. This will help to ensure it works at its highest potential.
- Buy solar panels designed for high temperatures. Manufacturers caught on to the fact that some of their solar panels weren’t producing a lot of energy because they were overheating, so they came up with a solution: products that could withstand the heat. If you’re worried about overheating, purchase solar panels that are specifically designed to work with the higher temperatures.
Keep in mind that solar panels won’t be affected by high temperatures unless they are extreme on a regular basis. That means someone who lives in Southern California, Nevada, or Arizona should take extra precautions when buying and installing solar panels.
Sunlight is important for solar panels, whether it’s 5 degrees or 105 degrees outside. Keep in mind it’s truly the temperature- not the weather- that will account for how much energy is being put out. As long as you’re taking the proper steps and precautions you should not have an issue of high temperatures damaging your solar panels.
4. Keeping it Clear from the Shade
If solar panels were superheroes, the shade would be their nemesis. And to be fair, solar panels are somewhat like superheroes when it comes to lowering energy and utility bills and helping with the environment.
It may go without saying, but shade should be avoided when placing solar panels. Why? Remember that solar panels rely on sunshine alone to operate. With too much shade, your solar panel will not be able to receive an adequate amount of sun to transfer into energy.
Too much shade is not only going to decrease the output of your solar panel severely but may cause concern for your electric appliances and utility bills, as well. The whole point of solar panels is to lower costs and be more efficient, so making sure your solar panel is free from the shade is imperative.
How can you make sure your solar panel isn’t being compromised with shade?
- Make sure the location you choose is as shade-free as possible. Going back to the importance of location and ample sunlight all year round, never choose a spot that is even partially-shady if you want to maximize the output of your panel.
- Ensure there are no obstructions that could cause shade. Homes that have fireplaces have chimneys coming out of the roof. While this is necessary for function and safety, it can cause quite a bit of shade on the roof. Avoid obstructions such as these when installing your solar panel as it will have a direct negative impact.
- Keep trees away from the solar panel. Trees are important for producing oxygen and keeping the environment healthy and strong, but they can create a whole lot of shade. Keep trees away from your solar panel as best you can
Making sure that there is no shade hitting your solar panel will allow for better efficiency and output. If you need to trim trees, make sure you’re doing it regularly, so they do not begin to block sunlight to your panel.
5. Ensuring Your Solar Panel is Kept Clean
If you leave too much buildup and grime on your tires, they might start not to work as well as they used to. The same is true for other things in life like smartphones, stoves, and couches. Well, your solar panel can get dirty, too, and that can actually cause a major negative impact on your solar panel.
Maintaining your solar panels to keep them clean and free of debris will keep them working more efficiently to deliver the best output. How can you make sure your solar panels are completely clean?
- If you live in an area with plenty of rainfall, you do not need to be too concerned. Heavy rainfall means your roof will be getting a good wash every now and then, so you don’t have to worry about too much buildup on your solar panels. They will be spic and span and ready to go!
- If you don’t get a lot of rainfall, consider watering your roof down regularly. There are a lot of drier areas out there, such as Palm Springs, California, or Tucson, Arizona. They don’t see too much rain, which is why it’s so important to hose off your roof (especially your solar panels) regularly. This will free it from any buildup, allowing for better output.
To put it simply, you need to make sure your roof and solar panels are clean to keep it functioning properly. If you have rain, you don’t have much to worry about, but either way, you should hose down your roof regularly to ensure there is no chance of buildup.
6. Cold and Wet Climates
There is a common misconception when it comes to solar panels’ ability to function in cold and wet climates. After all, an area that is overrun by clouds in the sky and plenty of rainfall won’t have too many sunny days, right?
The truth of the matter is that the weather does not have a major impact on output. Even on days where there are rainfall and plenty of clouds in the sky, the solar panels are still able to get the sun rays from behind the clouds and storms.
It’s almost beneficial to have clouds in the sky and a lot of rainfall for two reasons:
- The rain will ensure your solar panels stay clean.
- Clouds will help to drop temperatures, which means you don’t have to worry about high temperatures causing damage to the output of your solar panel.
Don’t be overly concerned with the weather. While it may seem like colder areas with a lot of rain won’t work well with solar panels, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Are Solar Panels Right for Me?
With so much talk about output, you might be thinking of solar panels are the right choice for you and your home or business. Some things to consider include the following:
- Solar panels can reduce your monthly electric bill. This is especially true in areas where the electric rates are continuing to skyrocket, and consumers are paying hundreds of dollars a month. If you want to cut your bill in half (or more) than you should consider solar panels.
- Solar panel installation costs have reduced. Solar panels have been a buzz word for a while now, but most people could not afford the initial installation. Luckily for consumers, the installation of solar panels has heavily decreased, allowing for more people to install with ease.
- It’s better for the environment. We are all doing our best to reduce our carbon footprint and save our environment, and solar panels are a great way to help. With solar panels, you will be reducing the overall demand for fossil fuels while limiting the amount of greenhouse gas being emitted into the air.
As you can see, there is a fair number of positives that come along with installing solar panels. From the ease and cost-effective installation to reduce bills and to save the planet, you will be glad you made the switch to solar power.
Is My Home a Good Candidate for Solar Panels?
There are a few characteristics that will make your home or business a great candidate for installing solar panels. Some of these characteristics include the following:
- Your roof is either facing the south or the west, where the sun is more likely to stay for long periods of time. This is also true during the winter months, so ensuring the solar panels are able to face in these directions is crucial.
- You have a good roof degree, which is also imperative for allowing proper angulation. Depending on where you live, the best angulation will be different. Some may require more angles than others due to harsh weather conditions.
- There are no obstructions on your roof, including things like chimneys and skylights. Chimneys can create shade that will hinder the functionality of a solar panel, while skylights can get in the way.
- The roof is in relatively new condition. A broken down and older roof might not be able to sustain solar panels. Always make sure you’re applying solar panels onto newer roofs that can take on the extra load without crumbling.
- There isn’t a whole lot of shade on the roof surface, such as trees or taller buildings nearby. Remember that shade is the enemy of solar panels and will hinder their overall operation.
Solar power is an excellent choice for saving money and helping the environment. However, you should know that output can be hindered by things like location, too high of temperatures, shade, and buildup of dirt and grime. Keep these things in mind when considering and placing panels.