Solar panels have been instrumental in producing renewable energy. Solar energy systems are now increasingly viewed as lucrative investments due to their subsequent decrease in cost and increased efficiency.
This blog identifies the factors influencing solar panel efficiency and highlights how they do so.
Factors that determine solar panel efficiency
It is necessary to consider several crucial criteria to analyse the efficiency of solar power systems. They are as follows:
- Climatic conditions – The efficiency of solar power systems is determined by climatic conditions such as light, wind, and temperature, which influence the photoelectric conversion of solar panel cells. Excess heat exposure can degrade solar cells, as high temperatures cause voltage and overall power loss. Therefore solar cells function better at cooler temperatures. At temperatures over 25 degrees Celsius, the output of solar panels reduces by 0.25 per cent for amorphous cells and by 0.40 per cent for crystalline cells. In countries such as India, where temperatures average around 45 degrees Celsius, the efficiency of a 100 MW solar panel system is approximately 75 MW.
- Solar panel spacing design – Solar panel spacing design, also known as shading, affects the solar system’s power generation capability. The entire string’s current is diminished when even a tiny amount of shadow falls on a solar panel. The partially shaded cells affect the current flow in the solar power system; therefore, partial shading should be considered while installing solar panels. The shadowing of the building on the solar panels and the self-shading between the solar panels are crucial factors to consider.
- The angle of inclination of solar panels – For increased efficiency in photoelectric conversion, solar panels should be set at optimal angles and be changed according to seasonal variations, latitude and longitude, and the number of hours of sunlight. The angle chosen for the fixed inclination should be based on the annual maximum power output.
- Roof orientation – The optimal angle for sunlight to strike solar panels is perpendicular, as this provides maximum energy output. The roof orientation should be such that it permits the solar panels to be placed at an inclination angle that helps absorb maximum sunlight.
- Cleanliness of the solar panel – The solar panels’ cleanliness impacts the photoelectric energy conversion. Factors such as strong winds, intense convection, and sandstorms affect the cleanliness of the surface of the solar panels. It thus determines the frequency with which the solar panels must be cleaned.
- MPPT Tracking Accuracy – MPPT refers to the Maximum Power Point Tracking for the solar power system, which enables the photovoltaic cells to reach maximum output and improves system efficiency. Solar charge controllers keep track of MPPT.
- The power loss of each part – In a solar power system, the transmission efficiency is affected by the power loss of each component. Solar panel matching loss, DC line loss, solar inverter conversion loss, as well as loss of AC grid connection contribute to the power loss of a solar power system.
In conclusion, we have highlighted how the transmission and efficiency of solar energy are determined by the design and installation of the solar power system.
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