Several things can affect solar panels’ efficiencies, such as temperature, color, weather conditions, etc. Here are some factors to consider before purchasing a solar panel system:
Solar panels work best at about 77°F, with their peak efficiency between 59°F and 95°F. However, when the surface temperature of your solar panels gets higher than 149°F, solar panel efficiency can decline.
The color of the backsheet that protects the panels can also affect efficiency. For example, while black might look more attractive for a protective backsheet, the color absorbs more heat. This results in higher temperatures and, therefore, a reduction in the total conversion efficiency, so other colors like dark blue, green or even patterns might be a better option for your solar panels.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Anything that stands between the sun and your solar panels reduces the amount of solar energy your system produces. Therefore, extreme weather conditions such as snow, wind, rain and hail can potentially affect your solar panel’s efficiency.
Since snow accumulates onto the surface of your solar panels, the sun cannot penetrate the panels, which will ultimately affect the efficiency of your system.
Since the wind could potentially cool your solar panels down, the wind can make them more efficient as long as the sun is still shining on them.
Rain does not affect your solar panel efficiency; however, rain clouds could affect how much sun reaches them. However, constant rainstorms help keep layers of dirt and dust from covering the panels and blocking the light, which could decrease solar energy production.
Unlike snow and rain, a hail storm can present slight problems for your solar panels. Although solar panels have been tested to withstand hail-like conditions, there is a chance of solar panel damage from a hail storm.
The inverter is what converts general Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) electricity, which is what your home runs on. Most inverter’s conversion efficiency is around 97% to 99%, so the energy loss is relatively minor.
Thermal cycling tests your solar panel to see if it can withstand a wide temperature range. Solar panel components can expand and contract during Thermal Cycling, which may affect their efficiency.
Solar Panel Orientation
South-facing roofs are ideal for generating electricity with solar panels. West-facing roofs are the next best option, and east-facing roofs are next. If you have a north-facing roof, you may want to reconsider.
Dust and Grime Build Up
As time passes, your solar panels are bound to have some dust and grime build-up due to the elements. If there is a layer of dust and grime on your solar panels, the sun will not be able to effectively reach the panels, causing a lapse in efficiency until the panels are cleaned.