Solar power is a blessing that nature has bestowed upon us and, unlike coal energy, is an infinite resource. As long as the sun shines brightly from the sky, we can generate solar energy. It’s been shown that solar power can become the cheapest source of energy for more than a dozen countries over the next decade.
Australia has the highest solar radiation per square meter and consequently some of the best solar energy resources in the world. Australia receives an average of 58 million PJ of solar radiation per year, approximately 10,000 times greater than its total energy consumption. However, Australia’s current rate of using green energy is low, with only 1% of its electricity generated by solar energy.
In the past two decades, the use of residential solar panels has grown tremendously. Both commercial settings and private residences are switching from the costly energy grid, to clean solar energy. However, not everyone fully understands how effective, efficient and affordable residential solar panels are.
Let’s understand how efficient residential solar panels are and whether they’re worth the investment. If you’re considering going solar, these are important points to think about before making your final decision.
Solar panel efficiency: Everything you need to know
Solar panel efficiency is a measurement of its ability to convert sunlight into usable electricity. A panel which is more efficient will produce more energy. The efficiency of a solar panel is determined by the amount of electricity produced by its solar cells — which can be affected by how they are configured, how they are connected to other components, and more.
Many people consider solar efficiency to be the most important factor while installing solar panels, but it’s not the only one. Solar panel efficiency is a measure of how much power will be produced per kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy input. Combining the price of electricity with the efficiency rate (or output rates) of a solar panel can help you decide whether to install solar panels in your home.
To determine solar panel efficiency, panels are tested at Standard Test Conditions (STC). STC specifies a temperature of 25 °C and an irradiance of 1,000 W/m2. Under these test conditions, a solar panel efficiency of 15% would produce 150 Watts.
It’s important to know the efficiency of your solar panels. The higher the efficiency rating, the more power you’ll produce per watt. The majority of panels are having an efficiency between 16% and 22%. However, there are many solar panels on the market with efficiency ratings in the 22-25% range. This means that new technology could double their efficacy, cutting their cost and increasing the amount of power they can produce.
Why solar panel efficiency matters?
The best quality solar panels are those that offer the greatest efficiency. Efficiency measures how much sun rays a panel absorbs relative to the amount of power being generated. Good-quality panels are made from top-quality products and follow thorough manufacturing processes.
As solar panels get older, their ability to convert sunlight into solar-electricity drops. Since premium efficiency panels already start with a high-efficiency rating, as they degrade, they will still have relatively high efficiency. This means they can produce more energy over time as compared to standard-efficiency panels.
Though you may end up paying more for installing an efficient solar panel at your residence, there are various advantages of doing so:
• Faster Payback
• Less area required
• Reduced energy bills
• Low maintenance cost
These are some major benefits of installing more efficient solar panels at your residence.
Factors affecting solar panel efficiency:
A photovoltaic cell is a device that converts sunlight into energy. Certain factors must be considered to optimise its efficiency Below are the main factors that affect solar panel efficiency:
• Panel construction
• Dust and dirt
• Panel orientation
Since solar panels are often wired together in a system, even a small shadow on one panel can drastically reduce the system’s overall energy production. It is best to install solar panels in an area where there is no shade at all.
• Panel Construction:
Most solar panels are designed with a layer of protective glass over the cells. The amount of energy harnessed is dependent on the angle at which light is passing through, as well as the reduction of reflectivity of the glass.
Solar panels can be made using one of three materials, viz. monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, and multi-junction cells. Monocrystalline refers to solar cells cut from a single source of silicon as opposed to polycrystalline solar cells which are made up of numerous silicon crystals melted together. Monocrystalline panels tend to be more efficient due to their uniform composition.
The geographic location of your house will have an impact on how much solar power your system will generate. Depending on where you live, the amount of solar energy available may differ. This depends upon how far north or south you live from Earth’s equator and the different angles of direct sunlight.
Not all homes receive the same amount of sunlight. To determine the level of solar radiation received in your home, you need to consider elements such as weather, time of year, and more importantly, the latitude of your location.
A lot of us assume that high temperatures will result in high efficiency of the solar panels, but that’s a myth. It turns out that solar cells perform better in cold climates than in hot ones. Unfortunately, they become less efficient when the temperature increases above 25° Celsius (77° F).
• Dust and Dirt:
Cleaning your solar panels depends on the cost of cleaning and how often they get dirty.
Dirt or bird droppings on your solar panels prevent the sun’s rays from reaching your photovoltaic cells and cause them to generate less power. There is a slight difference in the amount of electricity generated per day based on the dirt, so it’s good to have the panels cleaned occasionally to keep them working efficiently.
Assuming you buy a good-quality solar system for your home, how much energy it will produce will depend on your roof and the direction of its slope. Specifically, its size, angle, and slope are important factors.
Your roof’s relative steepness and orientation also determine your renewable energy potential. In Australia, the ideal direction to install solar panels is north with an angle of 20 to 30 degrees. East and west-facing panels will still allow for adequate efficiency and will ensure their high market value.
The angle of the roof determines the amount of sunlight your solar panels will get, which in turn determines their output. Before installing a solar panel system, your local solar installer should thoroughly explain all the different angle options available for your solar panels.
• Panel Orientation:
The ideal direction of your solar panels depends on where you live. When put into a Northern Hemisphere context, a southern facing location offers higher-than-average performance. If your property is located in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s best to opt for northern orientations.
Get the most efficient solar panels in Brisbane:
If you’re thinking about going solar, we recommend using the most efficient solar panels on the market. NuWay Solar is proud to be associated with the Smart Energy Council. Furthermore, we are ranked for consistently putting customers first, demonstrating exceptional industry knowledge and leadership, and installing more residential solar panels than any other installer.
To request a quote on solar panels for your home, call us at (07) 3063 4089 or send your details via our Contact form.