How Does The Weather Impact Solar Panel Efficiency?

Solar systems are superior when it comes to using the most widely available renewable source of energy; sunlight. Although the amount of energy that hits the Earth per hour from the sun is enough to sustain the whole globe for a year, only fractions of this reach our panels to produce electricity. The reasons? Solar panel efficiency and the weather.

While the Australian golden sun is pretty generous, it’s also clear that its intensity keeps fluctuating. So, what happens on those gloomy or cloudy days?

How do solar systems perform under varying weather conditions? Read on to find out!

The Best Conditions

As expected, solar panels perform their best during the summertime. As the sun shines bright, it’s easier to harvest the maximum output with the best solar panels. Summer is also known for its longer days, contributing to the solar panel’s peak performance. Moreover, the sunny hours of the day exceed the typical 10 am to 4 pm by one or two extra hours.

Whatever the season, clear and unobstructed sunlight contributes to optimum results.

Does Temperature Matter?

The outdoor temperature does affect solar panel efficiency. But, not exactly how you’d think. Most solar panels produce the best energy at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. So, you would think that solar panels would make more during high temperatures, right? It’s exactly the opposite. A temperature rise negatively affects its efficiency.

Each solar panel comes with a coefficient, which may fall between 0.20 to 0.50 %. This determines the percentage of energy per degree Celsius that your panel loses after the outdoor temperatures exceed the optimal point.

To put into perspective, for a temperature of 35 degrees, your panel could lose 5% efficiency, which means that solar panels work better in a sunny but not too hot environment. This allows the panels to give off more voltage and more electricity.

The Impact Of Clouds

It makes sense that cloud cover minimizes the sun’s radiation from reaching your panel, reducing the solar panel efficiency. Energy production on a cloudy day can vary significantly. For instance, thick and consistent clouds greatly impact the amount of energy your panel produces. In comparison, a cloudy but windy day means that the clouds will move faster. Therefore, in the second scenario, your system can still receive blasts of sunlight.

Flexible solar panels like those with N-Type solar cells do better in low light conditions. Still, your solar energy production is at its max on a clear and cloud-free day. In the winter, when the clouds are expected, losing 10% to 25% energy efficiency is a possibility with regards to the cloud cover. Although this seems like a lot, keep in mind its solar energy production should be between 75% to 90%, respectively. A solar monitoring app is usually attached to the solar inverter. You can use this to monitor your panel’s performance in varying conditions.

What Other Factors Affect Solar Energy Production?

Whilst the number of solar panels and solar inverter capacity will influence solar energy production, so will anything that comes in between the sun and your solar panels. We will look at some of those factors below:

  • Shade

Naturally, the shade affects the solar panel efficiency and, therefore, the energy produced. It gets worse if you have a traditional string inverter solar system. Once the shade affects any of the panels, the other panels on the same string are affected. Simply, the other panels will follow the lead of the lowest-performing panel to harness power similarly.

It’s essential to look into the possibility of the shade affecting your system during the solar panel installation. Opt for a system with power optimizers if you don’t have much control. These additions ensure every panel works to give the best possible output. This way, even if one panel is affected, the others produce their maximum output.

  • Position of solar panels

Never underestimate the point of direction of the panels regarding the north, as it will play a significant role in your power output. That’s why you can’t afford to purchase your system from any solar supplier. Professionals utilize a special satellite-based mapping tool to map the panels onto your roofing system. It factors the panel direction and your geographical location to calculate the estimated power output.

Every Australian state has its recommendations regarding the directions that panels should face for maximum performance. The roofs are pitched to a certain angle in certain areas, and the solar panels should match the roof pitch. The panels are elevated on tilted mounts for flat roofs to achieve the recommended angle that fosters the optimum power output.

  • Solar panel cleanliness

Should you clean your solar panels? Yes! You need to keep up with your solar panel cleaning once every year. It’s also best to have it done by a professional. 365 days is a long time, and a build-up of grime, debris, dust, and bird droppings are some of the things that may affect your panel’s efficiency. Still, if you want to save the dollars by doing it yourself, be sure to incorporate solar-friendly cleaning products, preferably mild soap with no chemicals, and ensure you don’t use high-pressure jets to avoid scratching the panels and damaging them. You should also watch out for your safety and stability on the roof.

What Should You Do During the Months When The Sun Is At Its Lowest?

When the cloudy weather becomes consistent, you may go for weeks with little solar energy. To be on top of your solar energy requirements, consider solar batteries like the Tesla Powerwall Home Battery System. Having one means you can store excess solar power in the summer and use it during less sunny periods.

Wish For A Solar Panel Installation?

Take charge of your energy needs with a solar panel installation. If you can get solar panels in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne with battery systems, you can enjoy greater energy independence. Besides, it’s a contribution to a better and greener environment. However, you can only trust a verified and highly qualified team of solar experts for a top-notch solar panel, battery storage, and inverter. A trustworthy solar company should lay down all the possibilities for an informed decision.