A highly proficient solar panel (PV) system can produce up to 16 kWh of solar energy per day. However, solar panel efficiency can vary depending on several factors, such as panel type, maintenance, and more.
This guide will provide detailed techniques to increase the efficiency of solar panel systems so that the solar grid can cover your electricity needs.
How to Optimise and Increase Solar Panel Efficiency
If you want to maximise the solar energy efficiency of your PV system, take the following initiatives:
Invest in Solar Inverters
If you are installing a new solar panel system or upgrading an existing one, choosing an efficient PV technology like solar inverters can be helpful. These inventors produce a higher amount of usable energy. They also create less power waste by automatically converting Direct Current (DC) into Alternating Current (AC).
A standard PV system produces outcomes in DC, but an Australian household requires Alternating Current to power the appliances. Therefore, the inventor collects all the energy produced by the photovoltaic cells and runs it through a transformer to change DC into AC. It also completes the conversion process at a rapid speed to minimise energy loss.
The inventor further keeps track of solar voltage to identify the time when modules are functioning at optimum levels. Based on this information, it adjusts the general energy production accordingly.
Types of Solar Inverters
There are a few types of solar inverters that you can use, including the following:
- String Inverter: This is the most common and cost-effective type of solar inverter. It is connected with at least 15 solar panels, which are called the solar array.
- Optimiser Inverter: This inverter system optimises the power output of each solar panel independently. It is individually attached to the back of each panel to maximise performance, regardless of solar system placement or weather conditions.
- Microinverter: It is a small inverter that connects to the back of each panel to boost solar panel efficiency. It has zero failure points, allowing the system to maintain its performance even if one microinverter stops working.
- Hybrid Inverter: It combines a solar inverter and battery inventor into a single unit to process the power of solar panels, solar batteries, and the utility grid at the same time.
Monitor Energy Usage
It is important to monitor energy generation and consumption to detect disruptions in solar energy efficiency. Regular monitoring can help you pinpoint and resolve an issue before it escalates into a major and costly problem. Moreover, monitoring your usage can also help you become more energy conscious, which can further help you reduce energy bills.
You can either keep a manual ledger or use a monitoring system to gather and compare performance data. A monitoring system is easier to maintain, as it automatically collects data and analyses the outcomes based on the area’s weather conditions.
Proper solar monitoring can also help you identify the pattern of energy consumption and eliminate factors contributing to high usage. For example, a washing machine may have a high electricity consumption. By monitoring its energy usage, you can identify the amount of energy your appliance requires. You can then exclusively use it during peak sun hours to preserve energy in your solar panel reservoir.
Adapt Solar Energy Efficient Habits
Certain habits can help you increase solar cell efficiency. Let’s take a look:
- Operate high-wattage electric appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, and pool pumps, during daylight hours to save battery energy. This way, you won’t have to rely on energy from the electrical grid.
- Select an energy plan that allows you to benefit from high feed-in tariffs and rebates.
- Install a battery according to the size of your solar panel system. This can help you store solar energy to use at night or in case of an electrical outage. If you have a large PV setup, you can even sell the extra stored energy to the grid or your solar energy provider.
- Place an energy diverter on the water heating system. This allows you to use energy from surplus solar production instead of sending the energy back to the grid.
- Get a heat pump hot water system that collects thermal energy from the environment to heat the water and conserve solar energy.
Regularly Perform Solar Panel System Maintenance
An unclean and poorly-maintained solar panel system has low solar energy efficiency than a properly maintained one. This is because dirt, grime, bird droppings, and debris can create a thick film on the panels. This can prevent the sunlight from reaching the panels and generating electricity. According to a study, dust particles on PV systems can decrease efficiency and power generation by up to 60%.
Therefore, it is important to regularly clean your solar panel system to maximise its efficiency. With a regular maintenance routine, you can detect any damage, such as broken panels, wiring issues, or rust, on time.
You can keep your solar panel system well-maintained throughout the year by taking the following steps:
- Remove debris and leaves with the hand
- Clean the panel’s surface with a soft rag and biodegradable soap
- Spray the surface with lukewarm water
- Check wiring, vents, fittings, and switches for damage and rust
- Contact a professional to get an annual inspection
Solar panel systems are the best renewable energy source to help you reduce your electricity bill. Even though PV systems can power the house throughout the day, you can boost their efficiency to support high-wattage appliances and leverage solar power at night. To maximise your solar panel efficiency, you can upgrade to a solar inventor, monitor energy usage, adapt to power-saving habits, and conduct regular maintenance.
Even after regular maintenance, you should get an annual inspection from a professional solar panel installation company to ensure your solar panels are in pristine condition and working at maximum capacity.