From the term itself, solar panels require sunlight to power. Thus, the common concern among aspiring users is whether their solar panels would need direct sunlight for the device to work correctly. The answer to this question lies in this article.
Solar Panel and Direct Sunlight
If you live in a less sunny area, you do not need to worry as solar panels still work even without direct sunlight. They would still work even if the solar panels may be shaded with surrounding trees, buildings, or turned away from the sun’s rays. Sunlight may also be affected by different weather conditions such as rain, clouds, or snow.
Whether direct or indirect sunlight hits the solar panels, both kinds of sunlight still carry photons, which are the units that solar use to convert into electricity. Although you already know that solar panels still work despite no direct sunlight, it is undeniable that they will still work best in conditions where sunlight directly shines on them. With only indirect sunlight powering the solar panel, the performance of the solar may decline.
In order to reach the peak output, it will need 1000 w/m2 of sunlight. This amount can only be reached when direct sunlight is hitting the solar panel.
Impacts of shading on your solar panel energy output
Although solar panels still work with indirect sunlight, consequences to the power output may put the homeowner at a disadvantage, especially when the power output is less than the actual consumption. To elaborate, here are the impacts of shading on your solar system:
- Length of time of the solar panel is under the shade: The longer is under a shade, the more significant the drop in electricity production. Remember that shade levels and sunlights differ every day because the sun’s rays’ paths also vary daily. This phenomenon will also result in variations in electricity production.
- Solar power technology: Newer models of solar panels sometimes use half-cut photovoltaic cell technology. This technology is designed to reduce the effect of having direct sunlight as the only source of sunlight. Still, standard or regular solar panels do not have this technology. Thus, the usual effects of shade on electricity still apply to it.
- Inverter setup: When you set up a solar panel with a central string inverter, having a shade on a sole panel may reduce the electrical output of the whole solar system. On the other hand, in the case of solar systems using DC power optimizers or MLPEs, having shade on one panel will not affect the other panels– only a slight reduction of power will occur.
At this point, you do not need to worry about direct sunlight hitting your solar panels. However, you should still consider several factors in determining if you should push through with the installation.
It is easy to say that solar power will significantly decrease your electricity bills since you are using renewable energy. But in some places, this would not be the case.
So, how would you know if your place is the best location to put up solar panels? Consider the following factors when deciding:
Learn about your current energy bill.
Before setting up the solar panel, you should be familiar with your monthly bill. Will using solar panels significantly decrease your bills? Some places tend to have higher electricity rates, while some are on the minimal side.
Experts suggest that in general, if you have a monthly electricity bill of at least $75, you may consider solar panels. Since solar power replaces utility from the grid, you would want to see a return of investment rather than losses. Usually, bills equal to or higher than $75 are when residential solar panel users see significant savings.
Basically, the principle of this factor is to pay less than what you are currently spending for electricity. Installing solar panels if you have little to spend at the moment would only be a waste of investment. You should utilize its capabilities to maximize its benefits.
Identify the type of roof you have in your home.
Solar panels are best partnered with durable, strong roofing materials, like asphalt or composite shingle, standing seam metal, or concrete tile. If you have roofing materials like slate tile and wood shake or roofs made up of composite stone/metal coated steel or mortar, you may need extra help from a solar professional.
Moreover, the mounting hardware to be used will also be critical in ensuring that your solar panels are correctly installed.
Will your roof need replacement to cater to the solar panels?
If your house has been standing for a long time and your roof has almost deteriorated, you may need to replace it. Solar panels are a good investment as they can last for up to 40 years. But pitched roofs can compromise its performance if it sits on a top that seems to be giving up.
Ensuring that your roof is in good condition to carry solar panels would save you from future re-installment. So, re-roof if necessary to save possible expenses.
The amount of sunlight your roof receives
Because of technological advancement, you may now check out whether your house is suitable for solar panel installations. There are suitability checkers you can find at the tip of your hands.
Once you have found out if your house is suitable for solar panel, you may start contacting a solar panel expert to properly inspect your home’s orientation, roof angle, and tree shading. These factors are essential to determine whether the sunlight you receive can support your family’s electric consumption.
Upon consultation with a solar panel expert, you can learn about the best options for installing solar panels in your home. This step will give you an idea of what to expect.
- Your local weather conditions
As mentioned earlier, the solar panel can still work despite weather conditions. You may check solar suitability checker tools to understand how these weather conditions affect solar power production from your panels.
Moreover, a high-efficiency solar panel that can convert direct and indirect sunlight into electricity are also available in the market. They are so efficient in converting different types of sunlight that they can work even during cloudy days.
Through the help of a solar consultant, you will know the estimated amount of energy that your system can produce based on the current weather conditions in your locality. Moreover, you will also know potential savings and possible expenses to incur upon consultation.
In some cases, your home may be susceptible to severe weather, which may induce damage to your solar panel. So, you may also check the durability rating of your desired solar panels to see if they can withstand storms, tornados, and other calamities.
Even though solar panels need direct sunlight for maximum electrical output, installing solar panels in shady weather is still feasible. The important thing is to maximize all electrical output by utilizing technologies and controlling factors.
If your place is in a cloudy area but still wants to try solar panel, do not hesitate to ask a solar consultant to test out possibilities. They can help you see the bigger picture regarding this investment to weigh the pros and cons.
Unargumentably, solar panels are an excellent replacement for grid electricity. They are not only suitable investments for your wallet but for the environment, too. So, please make the most out of your solar panels once you install them with Spring Solar!