How to get the best out of solar panels
To get the very best return out of your investment in solar panels, you should:
Try to have electronic devices on when the sun is shining
More technically, this can be referred to as matching solar electricity generation with on-site demand.
For example, if you are a home-owner and need to put a washing machine on, you could delay the start of the wash cycle to midday, when you know your solar panels will be producing a lot of electricity.
In this way, you will reduce the amount of electricity you need to bring in from the national grid.
Clean your solar panels if they get dirty
Generally, in the UK, solar PV panels are ‘self-cleaning’. Rain will wash away any dirt, dust, etc., that might accumulate on your panels.
However, sometimes dirt – or bird poo! – will become encrusted on one or more panels. The dirt will partially stop the sun’s rays from reaching the solar cells and less electricity will be produced.
The safest way to have the panels cleaned is to invite in a window cleaning company. Solar panels have a tough, glass front and can be treated like a pane of glass. Washing them with a mild detergent will bring solar panels back to their former glory.
Check your solar panel system regularly
A solar panel system falls into the ‘fit and forget’ category. You have them installed and they then just run in the background, creating electricity, and there is nothing for you to do.
However, it is still a good idea to check your system is working at least once a quarter. The easiest way to do this is to look at your generation meter. The reading on this meter should go up every day, assuming the sun is shining. If you notice the reading on your generation meter stays the same – or if the read-out is blank – call a solar electrician.
The main faults that can occur are:
- The circuit breaker for the solar panel circuit has tripped
- Your inverter has failed
- The generation meter has failed