Solar Panels work best if they receive direct sunlight. Solar panel experts recommend mounting the panels at an inclined angle to receive direct sunlight, regardless of whether they are mounted.
Shade and Bad Weather Impact Solar Panels
But if there is an obstruction in the direct sunlight, the productivity of solar panels is negatively affected. Shadows on solar panels lead to lower productivity even if the sun is shining brightly elsewhere. The neighboring buildings, trees, or clouds can have the same effect on the solar panels.
If you are want to invest in solar power systems and looking for all the aspects of solar power, then you have come to the right place.
This blog will discuss how shades can affect solar panels.
Why Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight?
In any case, solar panels require direct sunlight to function properly and efficiently. The shade from various elements can hamper the production of current by the solar panels. The shade can hamper only the solar cells of the panels where the shadow falls. The remaining panel works as usual. The shade can lead to lower productivity as it leads to a decrease in free electricity and it leads to longer payback periods.
Solar power system operates in shade according to how much sunlight the panel is receiving. But if the whole panel is shaded, the electricity production stops till the sun shines again on the solar panels.
How Does Partial Shade Affect the Solar Panels?
Partial shading of solar panels can have a significant impact on their performance. When even a small portion of a solar panel is shaded, it can lead to several issues.
Solar panels are typically connected in series, which means the current passing through one panel affects the output of the entire string. When a section of the panel is shaded, it reduces the overall power output of the entire array.
When a solar cell is shaded, it absorbs less light and becomes a resistance point in the circuit. This can cause localized overheating, leading to what are known as “hotspots.” Hotspots can damage the solar panel over time and, in extreme cases, can even cause a fire hazard.
Most modern solar panels have bypass diodes installed within them to mitigate the effects of shading. These diodes create alternative pathways for the current to flow when a part of the panel is shaded. While bypass diodes can prevent hotspots and damage, they do not eliminate the efficiency loss. They simply prevent the shaded section from dragging down the performance of the entire panel.
Shading can create an imbalance in the voltage and current produced by different cells in the panel. This imbalance can lead to inefficiencies and reduce the overall power output of the panel.
When solar panels are connected in an array, differences in shading, soiling, or manufacturing variances can lead to mismatch losses. A mismatch loss occurs when some panels in the array produce less power due to shading, resulting in a reduction in the total power output.
How Do Shade and Bad Weather Affect the Solar Output?
Shade and bad weather can negatively affect the solar output. Following are some examples of how is it possible.
- Cloudy or rainy days:
Solar panels are capable of generating electricity on cloudy days, although at a reduced rate. Thick cloud cover can significantly diminish the amount of sunlight, directly reaching the solar panels. It decreases their efficiency.
The rainy season leads to a decrease in solar output by 15%-20%. It is based on how many dark clouds are in the sky and how heavy the rain is.
Rain is beneficial as it washes away the dust and other debris on the solar panels but rain also hampers the solar production in the meantime.
In Pakistan, very little landscape gets snowfall throughout the year. Snow accumulation on solar panels can block sunlight and reduce energy production. However, most panels are installed at an angle, and snow can slide off when the panel is tilted. Additionally, many panels are designed to be light-absorbing to help melt snow faster.
As the panels are tilted towards the sun, snow also melts quickly, by the heat.
- Hail and wind:
Hailstorms can potentially damage solar panels. While most panels are designed to withstand hail of a certain size and impact velocity, exceptionally large hailstones can cause physical damage to the panels.
During the hail, the solar energy production falters. The users should have moveable panels if they live in a region where hail is common.
The hails are mostly accompanied by heavy winds. The moveable panels allow you to change the direction of inclined panels to a straight angle of 90 degrees. The direction should be changed so that the wind is not directly hitting the solar panels.
As time passes, each year the solar equipment depreciates a little. Due to this, productivity is negatively impacted. One of the main factors for the depreciation is extreme weather. Although extreme weather cannot affect solar panels immediately it does affect them in the long run.
- Deterioration of solar power equipment:
Exposure to constant rain and moisture can lead to corrosion, especially if the panels are not properly sealed or if the frame is not made of corrosion-resistant materials. Prolonged exposure to intense sunlight, as well as UV radiation, can cause the colors on the panels to fade, affecting their efficiency in the long term.
How to Mitigate the Effect of Partial Shading and Bad Weather on
To mitigate the effects of partial shading, solar panel installations often use techniques such as:
These are electronic devices attached to individual panels that optimize the panel’s output, mitigating the impact of shading.
Unlike traditional string inverters, micro-inverters are installed on each panel, converting the DC electricity to AC right at the source. This setup ensures that shading on one panel does not affect the output of the entire array.
During installation, panels can be strategically placed in an inclined angle and in an open space to minimize shading, especially from nearby structures, trees, or other obstructions.
Solar panel systems need to be designed and installed carefully to account for potential shading issues and maximize energy production.
While solar panels are designed to withstand various weather conditions, shade, and bad weather can impact their efficiency and lifespan. It’s important to consider these factors during installation and, if possible, periodically inspect panels to ensure they are functioning optimally, especially after severe weather events.
You can contact Bright Energy for further information. Our solar professionals provide you custom made recommendations only for you.