Making the Most of Solar Panel Installations as Hotter Days Arrive
Sunny days are here again—quite literally, with the arrival of the sunnier days of spring and in anticipation of the imminent summer months. Now that spring has sprung, it might be a good idea for those of you with solar panel installations to explore how best to take advantage of the sun’s rays in these brighter, post-winter days.
It’s actually not too complicated, and we will attempt here to demystify the process. A first requirement for optimizing the use of solar panels lies in the most basic of astronomical knowledge, which is to say, realizing the sun is at its peak between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in most spots. Given that solar schedule, point your panels due south as this tends to be the best direction to harness the energy of solar rays.
Owners of solar panels tend to have sunny dispositions, and among them there’s no such thing as a bad latitude (sorry, couldn’t resist a little solar humor there). However, seriously folks, knowing your latitude is important in operating your solar panels. It’s important in these hotter months to adjust your panels to your latitude to further enhance the panels’ efficiency and output. Conversely, in the winter, one would still aim one’s solar panels according to latitude but add 15 degrees to that calculation. Like in real estate, location is everything. For U.S. residents, this is a good thing because the country is in the middle latitude with the sun directly overhead, thus ensuring the delivery of greater energy from the sun during the hotter months.
Some folks think that solar panel installations have to be aimed at the sun every minute of every hour, but that’s a myth. As long as solar panels are directed at the sun for a few hours each day, you’ll be assured of reliable energy.
It may seem obvious to advise about avoiding shade in locating and configuring your solar panel array, but it’s worth repeating. Shade, of course, is anathema to solar energy collection. A solar panel obscured by shade can lose up to 80 percent of its total output.
Configuring and adjusting solar panels sounds like a chore, but it takes mere minutes. Those inclined toward a more sedentary lifestyle might derive greater enjoyment tracking their solar harnessing on the computer—a fun exercise but also an important one to get the most out of a system of solar panels. Many owners of solar panels opt to mount their array on a tracking system to better monitor the sun’s movements in order to capture the most of its solar output. We have seen grown men and women describe their solar tracking with a palpable enthusiasm usually exhibited by a teenager gushing over the latest computer app or game. It’s fun to go solar!
To further optimize the output of solar panel installations, it’s a good idea to conduct an assessment of a home or building to ascertain areas where electricity is being wasted, and then hook up solar panels accordingly. As a complement to solar panels, one might also consider the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, the installation of good insulation, and other techniques to further augment the output of solar panels.
As the use of solar panels increases in popularity, the technology has gotten less expensive. It’s still not entirely inexpensive though, which further illustrates the need to explore methods of optimizing their output. Given such cost considerations, it’s best to view such technology as an investment with an ensured—if not necessarily short-term—rate of return. If your home or building has a roof yielding the best positioning, it’s a good idea to purchase the biggest system you’re able to afford with an eye toward maximizing these future returns.
In tandem, the kW output of solar panels continues to improve as the technology is perfected. These factors heighten the need to get the most of one’s solar panels. Rebates are now offered by various utilities as incentives for their use, and owners of solar panels are able to sell off excess electricity back to the grid. From any direction you choose to look at it, the use of solar panels is emerging as a really bright idea.