Understanding Solar Panel Efficiency To Maximize Solar Energy
Solar panel efficiency is a must when you want to get the most energy out of your solar panels for your home or business. Furthermore, it has everything to do with cost-efficiency as well. While there are grants and financing available, and solar energy is essentially free once its produced, you still are having to think about cost when you are setting up your operation. If your solar panels are not running efficiently, then they’re not going to be paying for themselves and helping you in the long run.
So what are some of the things that can really hinder the efficiency of your solar panels? One thing that people often do not think about even when reminded upon purchasing is that solar panels must be cleaned in order to work. Now, this doesn’t mean you’re going to get on the roof and clean them with a cloth each day. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to get up there at all. You can hire someone to do it for you, but of course it is going to cost you money. So, in order to save money, you can do the cleaning yourself as well. It is a good idea to clean solar panels once a month.
To explain solar panel efficiency in further detail, you have to think about the electrical output ratio of the cells in your solar panels to the sunlight energy form. This conversion efficiency deems the percentage of solar energy that is actually retrieved and used as the electrical energy.
Another thing you must do at least bi-annually is to maintenance the solar panels and not just clean them. Now sometimes, you might have maintenance performed for other specific reasons at different times. But ideally, you’re at least going to have them checked twice a year. And, you have to plan this out according to seasons because you’re not going to have someone climbing on your roof during the freezing temperatures of winter along with ice and snow if you live in a colder climate. Did you take on solar panel installation by yourself? If you did, then you might be able to pull off the maintenance by yourself as well. This is going to be dependent up on the individual and of course can save you some money as well.
The seasons also have everything to do with solar panel efficiency. Obviously, during certain times of the year, you’re going to be able to capture more energy with your solar panels. Also, it has much to do with solar panel placement on your roof as well. Not every geographic location and home is going to be able to use solar panels. You must first do an assessment to see if they will be right for you. And then you must plan accordingly to store up energy for certain times of the year, which means you also have to know how many solar panels you need overall. And, the placement has to do with how much sunlight they get in order to maximize the storage and use of your solar energy.
With all this being said, you must understand that the efficiency of your solar panels is always going to need to be measured under ideal conditions. And then, you know what you’re looking at and how to plan under ideal conditions to maximize solar energy. This planning time or efficiency check is essentially done during what is termed “solar noon” or during autumn and spring equinoxes.
To explain it even further, a solar cell that is representing a 20 percent efficiency with 100 square centimeters area is going to provide you with 2 watts of electrical power. There are other factors that do have much to do with a a solar cell’s conversion efficiency. These include thermodynamic efficiency, conduction efficiency values, reflectance efficiency and more.
It was tested in 2013 in an overall study, and it was found that the best efficiency for solar cells was found by the use of multiple junction cells with a connection of high solar concentrations. It is interesting to know that there is a maximum rate for solar conversion efficiency of sunlight, which is set at 86 percent. This is due to what is called the Carnot limit, which has to do with the photon temperature given off from the surface of the sun.
The thermodynamic efficiency limit comes into play because solar cells are actually quantum energy conversion devices. If the photons have energy that is more than what is called the band gap energy, then their converted output is going to be limited. It really does get quite complicated when you’re looking at solar conversion efficiency.
Solar panel efficiency, while seemingly complicated, can be mastered by understanding the basics and applying a little math when calculating how you’re going to set up your solar panels. Plus, again you can have professionals do all of this for you. You just want to make sure that they are doing things in your best interest and not claiming that everything will be fine and efficient when you really don’t have the setup to back that up. Solar panels are a huge investment, and you want them to be as efficient as possible right? Otherwise, they are not worth the investment.
Also, when you have solar cells that implement absorber materials with multiple band gaps then this actually helps your solar energy efficiency out. Electron-hole pairs are produced ultimately, which help contribute to the currents produced. You also have to be aware that there is a difference between energy conversion efficiency and quantum efficiency. The quantum efficiency doesn’t give you the information you need about the solar cell power obtained.
Be sure you realize what you’re getting into when you are planning on having solar panels installed. With such an important aspect of your home’s operation and monthly budget and such a large investment, you want to be sure you understand how they work and what is required for them to provide you with maximum efficiency.