Once you’ve understood the benefits behind Solar Panels you might go ahead and install one on your roof through us here at Solar Choice but that’s not the end of the job really.
One thing you might want to consider after you’ve installed your system is “installed-system-efficiency”, which is the concept of actual efficiency of the system taking into account the specific location of your solar panel. This can be calculated by measuring how much power is coming out of your solar panel over time and comparing it to regional data and this will allow you to identify areas of loss similar to the areas we talked about in “How does my solar panel perform over time”.
- When noticing a steady weekly decline of 30-70 watts (5% of rated capacity) this might suggest is that you might need to wash your panels as there is a potential accumulation of dust on your panels.
- When noticing a seasonal decline in performance this might suggest that your neighbors trees are getting in the way of the direct sun-light
- Finally when noticing a very low seasonal average or a great difference compared to the values from the Bureau of Meteorology in the winter or summer months you might want to talk to the installation company to see if they have installed your panels to the appropriate angles. Or it could even tell you if your panel is broken…
So what are your options?
1) Go out and buy a pyronometer and a voltmeter and measure the daily radiation and your daily output.
2) Subscribe to a service that allows you to monitor your output through the internet or even easily accessible through an iphone application!
Written by Prateek Chourdia
MEngSc – Photovoltaics and Solar Energy, UNSW
Solar Energy Analyst
© 2010 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
Note: If you do choose option 1) then I strongly suggest that you don’t do it alone and that you seek the advice and help of a certified electrician.