While you can spend a lot of money on having solar panels fitted to your home, you won’t reap their benefits unless you optimise their placement to capture as much light as possible. Great Britain doesn’t benefit from a great deal of bright sunlight, so it is good practice to make the most of what we have so that you can start to get a return on your solar investment sooner rather than later.
While there’s not a lot you can do about the weather, there are certainly a few easy but effective things you can do to encourage your solar panel to pick up more light. Here we will provide you with a few top tips to start turning sunlight into pure energy.
Free the area from any shading
It may seem obvious, but without sunlight a solar panel is as effective as a regular roof tile in converting light into energy. Modern commercial buildings make use of building-integrated solar panels, such as these from Romag, to capture energy from the side of the building that gets the most sunlight, but most domestically fitted solar panels are generally installed on the roof. While you may have checked the direction of the sunlight when your solar panels were installed, you may not have tracked its path throughout the day. Consider whether at any point in the day a tree, nearby house, or building will be even slightly obscuring the sun’s view of your solar panel.
If you do find that you are not receiving the optimum amount of sunlight, you should do what you can to fix this. Whether this means chopping a tree down, or just trimming back some foliage, then this is a necessary evil if you want to optimise your solar panels. You could do this yourself, or hire a tree surgeon as a safer, more effective option. Try browsing Yell to find a local professional — it is always a good idea to call a few people to get a rough pricing estimate.
Clean the surface of the solar panel
If the surface of the solar panel is dirty or dusty, it naturally won’t capture as much sunlight as if it was sparkling clean — so you should make keeping them clean a priority. Tap or rain water won’t do the job by themselves, and they can actually do more damage than good by leaving tiny deposits of minerals on the panels, which can work against what you are trying to achieve.
You should use a detergent or dishwashing soap mixed with warm water to remove the dirt, dust, grease, or grime from your solar panel. You can clean the glass using a squeegee, which is a particularly wise option as it will not leave any fibres on the surface of the glass. Window Cleaning Stuff is the authority on glass cleaning products, and their extensive range of squeegees features many different shapes and sizes — so you can reach all areas of your panel.
Have your inverter serviced
While the ability for your solar panel to capture as much light as possible is of the uttermost importance, the inverter is the part of the system that holds the key to turning that light energy into useable electricity. If this machine isn’t performing to its optimum, you will start to convert less energy until you eventually have to start using power from the national grid again — which defeats the object of having your own solar power!
Contact the company who fitted your solar panels to have them service your inverter at regular intervals, or risk losing out on energy that could be better served powering your electrical appliances.
While these tips are quite straight forward, following the advice will leave you in good stead to start converting natural light energy into and endless supply of clean, green electrical energy.