What Factors Affect The Performance of Photovoltaic Arrays?

Transform Energy

Businesses must consider the factors that impact the performance of their photovoltaic arrays to maximize their solar energy systems.

Businesses can make better decisions about selecting a photovoltaic system for their operations by understanding the factors that impact array performance.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the critical factors that influence the efficiency of solar panels so you can get the most out of your investment in renewable energy technology.

Temperature

The temperature is a critical factor in the performance of photovoltaic (PV) panels.

Surprisingly, when temperatures rise, the efficiency of solar cells reduces, resulting in less power output.

Every degree Celsius increase in temperature causes PV panels to lose about 0.5% of their efficiency.

While it's tempting to assume that more sunlight means more power, high temperatures have the opposite effect on PV panels. Therefore, working with a professional and experienced installer who understands the impact of temperature on your system's performance is essential to maximize your energy output.

Soiling

Material accumulation on the surface of PV panels can significantly impact the generated power. The type of soiling and the frequency of cleaning times can dramatically affect the power loss experienced.

Dust is a common culprit and can reduce light transmittance and alter the incident angle of the light, leading to an uneven spread.

It's vital to keep solar panels clean to maximize their efficacy.

With the proper cleaning techniques and maintenance schedule, you can ensure your site's solar panels generate optimal power output.

Shading

Shading is a common obstacle that solar panel owners face as they strive to maximize their energy output.

Trees, buildings, terrain, and other objects can obstruct the sun's rays, causing a significant drop in power generation.

The effect of shading on a solar installation is highly variable.

In some instances, shading may only impact a small portion of the panel and have minimal impact on its energy output. However, when one cell in a panel cell string is in the shade, it causes an imbalance that may ultimately lead to a hot spot and damage the solar panel. Therefore, solar panel owners must understand the potential risks of shading and employ solutions to mitigate these risks.

Mismatched Modules

Due to minor manufacturing variations, solar panel modules of the same type may not have the exact same electrical characteristics. This mismatch between modules is known as mismatched modules and can lead to an overall performance loss for the system.

To ensure maximum efficiency, it is essential to closely select modules that match when designing a solar panel system.

Choosing a reputable manufacturer and conducting electrical testing can help mitigate the effects of mismatched modules.

Power Conversion Inefficiencies

Converting DC into AC using an inverter is a remarkably efficient process. Most inverters boast an efficiency rate of around 96-97%. However, it's worth noting that the efficiency of an inverter is dependent on the amount of DC input power.

Generally, inverters perform best when the input power is high. On the other hand, the inverter's conversion efficiency takes a dip when the input power is much lower than the inverter's rated power.

System Age

Older PV systems tend to experience more significant power losses due to natural degradation.

Solar panels generally degrade by about 0.5% annually, with some estimates as high as 1%. This degradation occurs without any external factors, such as soiling or shading, and can significantly impact the output of your system.

As solar panels age, their efficiency decreases, and the system may require additional components to operate at optimal performance levels. Regularly monitoring its output and replacing aging or faulty parts is essential to ensure your system runs at peak efficiency.

Final thoughts

By understanding these common causes of power losses in PV systems, you can take steps to maximize your system's energy output. From carefully selecting and installing modules to keeping surfaces clean and avoiding shading, there are various strategies you can employ to ensure your solar panels remain efficient over time. Additionally, frequently monitoring the performance of your system is also important to identify any potential issues early on and take corrective action before they become more serious.

Transform Energy's expert team will work with you to identify potential sources of power loss, design a system that meets your needs, and provide comprehensive installation and monitoring services. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you reach your energy goals.

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