The problem with solar panels is that they only work when the sun is shining, right? That is a common assumption by most people who believe that when that glorious, big ball of fire ducks behind the clouds. And then when the rain starts to fall and the day makes way for the night, suddenly solar is out of the equation. That’s how it goes, hey? Well, not quite. Solar is far more efficient these days than in the past.
Believe it or not, your array is still capable of converting solar energy into electricity, even when the sky is blanketed in clouds. Modern technology means that you can charge your panels using indirect sunlight and by using the following tips you can maximise the amount of energy you can create to power your home.
Over time, solar panels can develop a layer of dirt or dust that provides a barrier between your cells and the sun. Rain is not going to effectively wash these layers of dirt away either as raindrops carry dirt within the; rain could even make them even dirtier than they were before.
All you need to successfully clean your solar panels is a non-abrasive cloth and some clean water, but it is not recommended that you do this job yourself. Climbing onto the roof is a job best left to the professionals for safety reasons and they will deliver a comprehensive clean. Enlist their services prior to winter each year and you will get the most out of your solar panels.
If you are experienced and accredited to work on your roof, remember not to clean panels with any form of detergent. Doing so will leave streaks that limit the system’s ability to convert indirect solar energy into electricity.
At different times of the day, there maybe shadows cast on your solar panels that mean they are charging using indirect light and not direct. You can use mirrors to reflect sunlight directly onto your panels during these known periods and get more charge than you would otherwise.
Did you know that you can charge solar devices using the lighting in your home? While incandescent bulbs will do the job, we don’t recommend you use them at all because they are horribly inefficient and LED replacements will last up to 26 times longer and do a much better job. They are also capable of charging small solar devices like the solar lights for your driveway etc. The closer you put the device to the bulb, the faster it will charge.
This is especially important during the winter months when there are fewer hours of sunlight than there in spring and summer. Speak to your technician about angling your solar panels so they are getting as much direct exposure as possible. This is especially important if you’re installing solar panels in Melbourne or other areas with temperamental weather and volumes of sunlight.