Solar energy is clearly the undisputed future of power especially as energy charges keep soaring higher.
However, this form of energy is new – and for many consumers, this is the first time they will be looking at an alternative method of generating their own power – via the sun directly.
This poses two unique challenges:
- There will be no friends or acquaintances that can help with their own (personal) experiences and
- Getting the best out of the systems may prove tricky, especially since widespread acceptance and use of solar energy is relatively new.
The two unique challenges above call for this article here at Akaahan Terungwa. As a professional solar freelance writer thus, I have outlined four (4) of the biggest challenges that can reduce the efficiency of your solar unit.
If you know these issues – and master how to resolve them, you will certainly get the best out of your unit any day or time.
1. Improper Panel Positioning/Placement
While the challenge of improper panel positioning/placement can be smartly avoided (or minimized) if an expert is involved, it is not always necessary to call in an expert especially for portable solar units (like the Goal Zero solar generator) meant to power small and medium power demanding electronics/devices.
As a general rule, panel placement should be done in such a manner that the panels get maximum amount of sunlight, especially during solar peak hours, 10am to 4pm.
However, if this is not possible or feasible, a solar sun tracker (available on Amazon.com) should be bought and judiciously used. This way, the panels would actually rotate and focus their cells facing the sun – as its rays move, guaranteeing maximum sun exposure and subsequently, output.
Get this right and you are already on your way to getting better service from your solar unit.
2. Improper Battery Choice/Capacity
The battery/batteries of any solar installation is where the overall strength or failure of the unit is made manifest.
Unfortunately, this is where many newbies to the solar world get it all wrong.
The selection of your batteries in terms of their capacity is completely dependent on the load you intend to run and how long you will be relying on batteries to run that load.
If you are using a simple laptop all night (when there is certainly no sun), it won’t harm to rely only on an 100 AH fully charged deep cycle battery.
On a bright sunny day, you could rely on half that capacity (50AH) and still get to work all day, provided you plug in your unit and recharge the system as it discharges to your laptop battery.
For all night movies plus the laptop, a fully charged 200AH battery would work great…in that fashion.
However, getting a 300AH battery and relying on a 100 watts solar panel (either monocrystalline or polycrystalline) is certainly asking for trouble; same with relying on a 50 AH battery connected to a 500 watts solar panel.
The trick here is to know the load you wish to run, choose the battery you desire to use based on that load and get the right panel type to charge things up.
If you are still confused, this guide, though not 100% relevant to all geo locations will certainly get you on your feet.
3. ‘Unlawful’ Load
‘Unlawful’ is a harsh word, but nothing reduces the efficiency of a solar unit faster than loads that were not envisaged at the time of its purchase or installation.
For instance, there is always the temptation to use the 2000 watts pressing iron on a solar unit that has an inverter rated at just 2000 watts, provided every other thing is switched off!
While such overloading will, in the long run, kill both inverter and battery, in the short run, it does something many users appreciate instantly: it reduces run time and affects overall efficiency.
If you want to enjoy your solar unit or installation thus, you must not, as a rule, load it more than two thirds of the rated capacity of the inverter.
This means that, for a 1,500 watts inverter, keeping your total load just under 1,000 watts is ideal – and will give the best returns.
If you can, keeping things at one third all the time is ideal – and best. This, you can brilliantly achieve by making sure that only the needed appliances/gadgets are put in use. If you do not really need to have a gadget on, switch it off – and save power.
4. Wrong Panel Type
Monocrystalline solar panel types are praised to the high heavens and for many contractors and solar energy companies, they are simply the best option, any day or time.
This thinking is wrong – and can result in overall poor efficiency of your unit.
It works this way: while the over glorified mono panels work brilliant and certainly charge units quite fast in the tropics and where sunlight is not an issue, its use certainly reduces the overall efficiency of a solar unit when they are used in places where sunlight is poor or very limited.
In such places as the temperate regions of the world, it is a better and smarter option to particularly opt for polycrystalline solar panels for use with your unit. This way, you do not only get cheaper panels (yes, they are cheaper) but also get more efficient panels, suited to your particular location.
Any Other Tips That Can Ensure The Efficiency Of A Solar System?
These tips are the 4 major tips that can enhance the efficiency of your solar unit. However, there are a few minor/adjunct tips that can also add up, though largely insignificant on their own:
- Use of energy efficient devices/gadgets.
- Operation of energy tasking devices during the peak hours of sunlight only (if this is possible) &
- Using ‘solar friendly’ devices/gadgets when possible.
Go, enjoy your solar unit to its maximal potential. If by any chance you need a professional solar freelance writer or copywriter, get in touch, I can help.