Alternative energy sources are a hot topic in all economies in the world as the threat of oil depletion and global warming bites on. Solar power has been tipped as the best alternative to electricity and oil as it offers clean power from the ultimate source of energy: the sun. Perhaps that is why you see solar panels being installed everywhere these days.
Solar Panel Installation Tips
For solar power to be effective, you have to consider a variety of factors when installing the panels. Some of the tips to consider are:
Take maximum advantage of the sun’s irradiance and insolation.
Irradiance refers to the amount of the sun’s power at a given time, while insolation measures the total solar energy that is available over a certain period of time. It is measured in kilowatt-hours/square meter/day. Insolation changes with time and position relative to the equator. There is a less seasonal variation of solar insolation at the equator than at the poles. To take advantage of the sun’s irradiation and insolation, you need to install the panel in such a way that it at right angles to the sun’s rays. This is because when the sun’s rays’ angle of incidence is not perpendicular, a lot of energy is lost from the panel through reflection and also the intensity of the irradiance is reduced.
Consider panel orientation carefully (azimuth)
For the best results, orient the panels towards true south if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and towards true North if you are in the southern Hemisphere. At the equator, you can orient the panel towards any direction. The angular orientation of solar panels is called azimuth, and it may affect the overall performance of the panel if not carefully considered.
Consider the tilt angle of the panels relative to the latitude
The collector’s tilt angle is also an important factor to consider as it affects the overall irradiance. Collectors that are installed at tilt angles that are equal to the latitudes of the sites will be at right angles to the sun’s rays during midday. This is so, especially on the equinoxes. The angle of incidence will vary during other times of the year for the same panels. The tilt angle should, however, also be determined depending on the roof slope and the season when solar energy is needed most. Specifically, to maximize solar energy annually, the tilt angle of the collector should be the same as the angle of latitude of the site. To maximize solar energy in summer, the tilt angle of the collector should be 15 degrees lower than the angle of latitude of the site. During winter, maximization of the usable solar energy will require a tilt angle which is 15 degrees higher than the angle of latitude of the site.
Ensure that the solar panel to be installed is certified
Installation of solar panels is regulated in most jurisdictions, and it is essential to ensure that the panels to be installed are allowed by the law.
All said and done, there are several types of solar panels, and installation tips will differ from one type to the other. For instance, installation of flat plate solar collectors is different from that of evacuated tube collectors. There are also solar panels which are used for water heating and others for lighting, and installation techniques differ.