6 Reliable Ways to Optimize Your Solar Panels’ Performance
To squeeze every drop of energy from your solar panels, you’ll need to do a little work. As you know, the energy that solar panels produce can be dramatically affected by changes in weather. One stubborn cloud could cut your production in half. But even if you live in a place with year-round sun, that doesn’t guarantee you’re getting the highest possible production. There are still ways to get more power for your punch.
Here’s our list of reliable and tested practices you can implement to get make sure your solar panels are performing as best as possible throughout the year.
1. Clean your panels regularly
Solar panels produce energy from the sun rays that touch them. The sun rays struggle to penetrate layers of dust and dirt. Your dusty panels are producing far less energy than they could be.
Dust and bird droppings can accumulate quickly and can have a significant impact on your energy production. Mark it in your calendar to regularly clean your panels, whether manually or by a professional company.
2. Point solar panels west, not south
Most solar panels are facing the wrong direction. While you may be tempted to point your solar panels south, they should be pointing westward. West-facing solar panels produce 2% more energy than south-facing ones. Plus, south-facing solar panels also get an inconvenient spike in energy at midday.
Not only do they get more energy, but apparently west-facing solar panels get a more uniform feed of energy at more convenient times. That can add up to a lot of energy over time.
3. Solar panel orientation (must be perpendicular)
For optimal efficiency, the sun rays need to hit your solar panels at a perpendicular angle. The earth’s tilt on the axis means you need to continually adjust the angle over the year based on the seasons.
The estimated adjustments recommended by Solar Panel World are:
- February – Tilt the panel at the same angle as your location’s latitude. If you’re at 50° latitude, tilt your panels to 50°.
- May – Reduce your panels’ tilt by 15°.
- August – Return the tilt angle to February’s amount.
- November – Add 15° to your tilt.
4. Use a solar tracker
Instead of adjusting your panels manually, you can also use a solar tracker. This is a device that rotates your array of solar panels so that they’re always directly facing the sun. There are three types of solar trackers available:
- The “clock”: it moves according to where the sun is supposed to be during the day
- Power chaser: uses active circuitry to measure what location gets the most power
- Shadow fleer: this uses a shadow feedback signal
Any of these will help your solar panels follow the sun for maximum efficiency.
5. Use a high-tech monitoring system
You could remove the guessing game altogether and install a high-tech monitoring system. Using this system, you can always be on top of your production levels. These systems also inform you of any repairs needed and how energy-efficient your panels are being. It also works through an app which makes it very easy to implement and use.
6. Use reflected light
One simple trick is: use mirrors (called booster reflectors in industry lingo)! Using mirrors to reflect light back onto the panels can give you a huge production boost. You simply have to place them opposite the solar panels so that the light bounces back onto the solar panels.
Solar panels work excellently on their own, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a little boost to maximize your energy production. Even if you overproduce, some regions let you sell your surplus energy to your neighbors, so not a watt will be wasted.