There are many factors that affect the performance of your solar system. Some of those factors you can control but most of them you have no control over. The number one factor that affects your system’s performance is the amount of sun it receives. You have some control over that factor, by keeping your solar panels clean you can help ensure your system gets as much sun as possible.
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Factors that affect how much sun your solar system gets
The direction the system faces affects when your system gets its best sun exposure. This factor can be controlled by a solar installation company. There are two things that the company will take into consideration when they plan which direction your system faces:
- Which direction gets the most useful sun?
- Do you have Time-of-Use (ToU) billing?
The direction that gets the most sun is the south, but that isn’t always the ideal direction a solar system should face. Peak electrical demand is in the afternoon. Homes that are served with ToU rates often pay the highest rates for power from the grid in the afternoon. When that is the case, the ideal direction for a solar system may very well be west. Ultimately, your best bet is to consult with a solar installer. They will be able to figure out which way your system should point.
All solar panels are not created equal, some produce more power than others. High-efficiency panels can generate the same amount of power that low-efficiency panels can with fewer panels. High-efficiency panels are a good choice if you have limited space to put the system.
Temperature affects your system’s performance
The warmer your solar panels get, the less efficient they become. That’s because heat increases electrical resistance. You can reduce the impact of heat on your system’s power production by choosing higher-quality solar panels. Higher-quality solar panels are designed to maintain more of their performance in high heat.
Shade, snow, and dust
Shade, snow, and dust are factors that affect your system that you do have control over. Dust can cut your system’s performance down by a lot. For example, one morning I cleaned off a friends’ solar panels as a favor. Before I swept the dust off, the system was putting out 1 kW. After I dusted the panels off, the system was generating 2 kW. If your panels are on your roof, you may not be able to reach them with a broom. In that case, you can hose them off to remove the dust build-up.
Likewise, you should keep trees from shading your solar system. Just like dust, even a little shade can have a drastic effect on your system’s performance.
For best results, monitor your system
The best way to make sure your system keeps performing the way it should is to monitor its performance. That way if its performance drops off you can investigate and find out why. If you own a Freedom Forever solar system, we monitor it for you. In fact, we guarantee your system’s performance with our 25-year production guarantee. If there’s ever a problem, we’ll contact you and arrange to fix it. We will also compensate you for any lost energy production if the problem was due to our fault. We will stay right on top of your system’s performance so you don’t have to.