HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SOLAR PANEL PERFORMANCE

If you’ve made the wise investment of converting your home or business to solar energy, you’ll definitely benefit from this article. We are going to give you easy steps to keep you system operating at it’s peak by optimizing your solar panel performance. There are a few things you can do to make the most your solar arrays so, let’s get started.

ARE THE SOLAR PANELS FACING THE RIGHT DIRECTION?

Did you know that most of the solar panels in the world are facing the wrong direction? Common sense dictates that they generate more electricity when they face west. However, a lot of people have it facing the south. A study performed on the efficiency of power generation showed that if the panels faced west (depending where in the world your system is located) they could generate two percent more power. Be sure to work with your solar designer prior to installation to get the optimal angle and positioning of your system. Having the right positioning is key in maximizing solar panel performance and energy output.

ADJUST YOUR SOLAR PANELS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR

If your solar system is designed to allow you to make adjustments to the solar panels any time you want, you will be able to generate more electricity from them. This is easier to do in ground mounted systems compared to sloped roof, residential installations.

  • February – Make sure you tilt your panels at the exact same angle as the latitude of your location. If you are at 40 degree latitude, tilt the solar panels to 40 degrees.
  • May – Reduce the tilt of your panel by 15 degrees.
  • August – Go back to the original configuration.
  • November – Add a tilt of 15 degrees to your panel.

Although you should get precise equations to calculate the optimum positioning of the panels, these are good estimates to go by.

BALANCE THE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION

Monitor your inverter to keep a tab on the amount of electricity that is generated by the panel/system. Compare it to your electricity usage to get a good idea of what equipment to use when the electricity generation is at its peak. You also need to remember that changes in weather can alter the production levels rapidly.

KEEP YOUR SOLAR PANELS CLEAN

Using a little bit of translucent liquid coating improves the solar output of your panels by a huge margin. Either clean the panels manually or get an expert operations and maintenance provider. If you want to clean the tricky parts, a certified maintenance company is much better. You don’t want to do a half-hearted job of cleaning the bird droppings, dust and more. When El Nino is around, the regular rain is enough to keep your panels clean. In the dryer months be sure to hose your panels down from time to time for residential solar systems. For commercial solar systems it may be worth paying for a thorough cleaning from a service provider like Green Earth Window Services.

USE MONITORING SYSTEMS

A monitoring system helps you to keep an eye on your solar panel performance. If the production rate drops, you can call your solar maintenance experts. People who go solar with HES Solar enjoy lifetime system monitoring. With regular monitoring, you can keep track of the energy that your panel produces, understand how the solar panels benefit your environment from the CO2 emissions, and see if any part of the system needs repair work. You just need to open an app or a mounted display to access all this information and you get up-to-date information about the solar system no matter where you are.

DAY/NIGHT FOCUS

Households that use a steady amount of electricity during daytime are the best candidates for solar arrays as the bulk of their use happens when the sun is shining. In such cases, you can go for a larger system. If you work in the night shift and most of your activity takes place after hours, you need to go for a system that has a good battery back up system so that you can optimally use the stored up power at night.

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NET ENERGY METERING 3.0 INFORMATION

Net Energy Metering 3.0 (NEM 3.0) is the incoming law created by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The new tariffs and fees will impact both residential and commercial solar systems built in California. 

As this notice is posted in November of 2022, the Proposed Decision from the CPUC outlining the proposed NEM 3.0 terms is expected soon. This comes after a year’s delay. Once the new agreement is finalized and passed into law, there will exist a designation of the deadline under which new systems will continue to qualify for NEM 2.0 rates. 

The new NEM 3.0 rates will be designed to lower the value of electricity during the daytime hours, when solar is producing, and increase the value of electricity during the evening hours, when solar homes and businesses purchase electricity. In short, NEM 3.0 will create a “sell low, buy high” proposition to new solar system owners. 

To Californians looking to install a solar system on their home or commercial building, the NEM 2.0 rates will be preferred. As of this post, the solar industry does not know the details of how different the NEM 3.0 rates will be from the NEM 2.0 rates. 

Please use the HES Solar website as a resource to learn more, and please take our offer to speak with an HES Solar Energy Consultant at no obligation.

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Robert Laverty

Senior Energy Consultant, Residential

Robert Laverty joined the HES team in the summer of 2018, bringing his ten years of solar design experience and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound with him. Robert is dedicated to finding solutions to help families produce and store electricity in order to reduce their reliance on grid power as well as help reduce their household’s carbon footprint. Robert’s experience as a newspaper editor as well as his involvement with the sustainability-focused Rocky Mountain Institute drives him to constantly seek out innovative ways to meet energy needs through renewable resources as well as helps him share those ideas with Southern California homeowners. When not at work or volunteering time with his church or community, Robert spends time with his wife and two sons or pursues his passion of fly fishing.
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