How to check that you are getting the most out of your solar panels
Posted by EvoEnergy . on 11 November 2013 at 9:48 am
Q: I am not sure if we are getting the benefit of the solar panels we had fitted in 2011. In short, we appear to be using the same amount of units as we did before the panels were installed. I understand it may be different appliances in the house which are responsible for the increase in expected usage. However, I have found out that the company who fit the panels are in liquidation. Do you know if there is an independent organisation who could help if I wished to get the fitting checked? I have been advised to look at REIGA but the company I used are not listed there.
A:There are a few things that make generation look higher. Solar works more cost effectively if you use appliances during the daylight hours, as they directly use the energy produced. If you are mainly consuming electricity in the evening, then begin to make a habit of using appliances in the day time when the panels are operating. If you are out during the day, try to set timers on appliances such as your washing machine or dishwasher.
Over time panels will naturally degrade and produce less power; however this depends on your panel model. Mostly degradation is less than 1% per year, and higher quality panels will see even less in the first few years. This being said, the biggest jump is in the first few years after your installation, when you may see a difference in your energy production and consumption.
Having clean panels can noticeably improve performance. After severe weather or if you have had them for a while, give your panels a clean and allow them to let more light in.
Mainly, a combination of natural degradation, dirt and higher energy use will most likely be the reasons for what appear to be high energy consumption. Some of these problems you can solve, such as cleaning the panels and using your appliances during the day, however solar panels will naturally produce less over time.
There are many solar panel installers (such as EvoEnergy) that will be able to check the health of your solar panels. Use the YouGen website to look up companies in your area, and see who offers this service. By looking at other reader’s reviews of solar installers, YouGen can help you to select the right one.
More information on Yougen
About the author: EvoEnergy is an independent solar installer, helping homes and businesses around the country discover the benefits of cleaner, greener energy.
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