Ways to Increase a Solar Panel's Electric Efficiency
Solar panels are becoming more popular across the nation, but there are worries about their electric efficiency. Solar panels take energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, but they do not often produce enough energy to power a home, or sustain a family's needs. Homeowners investing in a solar panel often want to get the best electric efficiency from their solar panel, but are reluctant to face further costs in doing so.
Experimenting with the uses of your solar panel can help you develop ways to increase its electric efficiency. There are a few methods which can be used to either increase the electric efficiency through production, or by improving the manner in which energy made by solar panels is used. Utilizing the best energy efficiency ideas on your own solar panels will help to save you money and reduce your carbon footprint for normal electricity use.
Solar Panel Coating
Recent technology has been developed which allows solar panel owners to coat their panel in a kind of varnish, which increases the amount of light the solar panel absorbs; light absorption can be increased by as much as 6% an hour. This increase in light helps improve the electric efficiency of the panel by improving the amount of electric produced.
Add a Concentrator
Concentrators are large magnifying lenses which point the sun's rays towards the solar panel. This intensifies the light available, and like the coating, increases the amount of light the solar panel absorbs. Devices which move the solar panel around the roof are also available, although whether they actually increase electric efficiency when their own power use is considered is debatable. Trackers are designed to increase the electric efficiency by improving the amount of light available to the solar panel; so if you have quite a few panels set up, it may be worth investing in one of these. They also improve solar panels' electric efficiency during the winter months,
Using Solar Panels for Hot Water
Solar panels can be used for hot water, reducing the electricity bill by doing so. Putting too much strain on the solar panel can damage it, however, so be sure to add a flow control system to your solar panel heating devices. Flow control systems reduce the amount of water which is heated at once: two sensors attached to the solar panel measure the heat of the water in the panel. Once the water in the panel is hot enough, it is moved out of the solar panel, and the pump either shuts off, or heats up a fresh batch of water.
Keeping the Panel Clean
One of the ways in which solar panels can have less electric efficiency over time is through the build-up of dirt and debris on the panel. Solar panels often attract bugs, which then become fried and stick to the surface of the panel. It is a good idea to use a damp cloth every so often, and wipe down the solar panels. The best time to do this is during cloudy weather, or after nightfall, as the solar panel will be quite hot during sunny periods.