The problem with solar panels is that they only work when the sun is shining, right? This is a common assumption made by most of the people who believe that this glorious, large ball of fire is crouching behind the clouds. And then when the rain begins to fall and day gives way to night, the sun is suddenly out of the equation. That's how it works, hey? Not quite. Solar is far more efficient today than it was in the past.
Believe it or not, your array is still capable of converting solar energy into electricity even when the sky is covered with clouds. Thanks to modern technology, you can charge your panels with indirect sunlight and use the following tips to maximize the amount of energy you can generate to power your home.
It starts with keeping your solar panels clean
Over time, solar panels can create a layer of dirt or dust that forms a barrier between your cells and the sun. Rain will also not wash away these layers of dirt effectively as raindrops carry dirt inside. Rain could make them even dirtier than before.
All you need to successfully clean your solar panels is a non-abrasive cloth and some clean water. However, it is not recommended to do this yourself. For safety reasons, climbing the roof is a task that is best left to professionals and that provides extensive cleaning. Use their services every year before winter and you will get the most out of your solar panels.
If you are experienced and accredited to work on your roof, remember not to use detergents to clean the panels. This creates streaks that limit the system's ability to convert indirect solar energy into electricity.
At different times of the day, shadows may be cast on your solar panels, which means that they are being charged with indirect and non-direct light. You can use mirrors to reflect sunlight directly onto your panels during these known periods of time and get more charge than you would otherwise.
Invest in LED lighting
Did you know that you can charge solar devices with the lighting in your home? While incandescent bulbs do the job, we don't recommend using them at all as they are terribly inefficient and the LED replacement will last up to 26 times longer and do a much better job. You can also charge small solar devices like the solar lights for your driveway etc. The closer you place the device to the lightbulb, the faster it will charge.
Point your solar panels towards the sun
This is particularly important in the winter months when there are fewer hours of sunshine than in spring and summer. Talk to your technician about angling your solar modules so that they are exposed as directly as possible. This is especially important if you are installing solar panels in Melbourne or other areas with temperamental weather and lots of sunlight.