When choosing to install solar panels, you obviously count on a worry-free operation during their entire lifetime. We give 10 tips to achieve a worry-free operation of your solar panels.
1) Choose for quality
Do not choose for the cheapest, but for the best solar panels. Compared to other types of panels, monocrystalline solar panels offer the following advantages:
– The highest yield per m²
– The best quality of silicon
– A reduced risk of micro cracks
– A proven longevity
2) Choose for a reliable installer
It goes without saying that your solar panels are best installed by an experienced professional. Ask the installer to come onsite for a measurement and to deliver some references for similar projects.
3) Opt for a good setup
Proper alignment of the solar panels towards the sun is crucial in order to maximize electricity production. Solar cells perform best when they are set up in the direction between southeast and southwest. A slope between 20 and 60 degrees delivers good results.
4) Invest in a good inverter
As the inverter is a key component of the solar plant, one should choose for quality.
Good converters have a lifespan of at least ten years. Inverters without transformer offer higher efficiency than inverters with transformer. You best opt for an inverter with an efficiency of at least 97%.
More tips related to the investment in an inverter are available here.
5) Ensure proper dimensioning
When purchasing a PV-system, it is important that the solar panels and the inverter are properly dimensioned. With a view to a maximum technical output, the best dimensioning of the inverter is between 90% to 110% with respect to power of the solar panels. In a PV-system of 3 kWp, this for example means an inverter with a capacity between 2.7 and 3.3 kWp.
Typically, one opts for an ‘underdimensioning’ of the inverter with respect to the solar panels. This is because in Belgium, the solar panels virtually never reach their peak efficiency because of non-optimal weather conditions.
6) Continuously manitor and assess your return
When investing in solar panels, you naturally want to achieve maximum efficiency. Therefore, you should monitor and evaluate the performance of your system closely and constantly.
The efficiency of your solar panels can be monitored by means of the online portal ‘My iLumen’. This efficiency calculator determines the theoretical yield of your solar panels.
‘My iLumen’ synchronizes all historical data from your system and then automatically and accurately calculates the return. This way, you can immediately check whether your system is performing optimally.
7) Clean your solar panels (but moderately)
A frequently asked question is the frequency at which your solar panels should be cleaned. Based on our experience we suggest that a single cleaning each one to five years should be sufficient, dependent on the location and other environmental factors.
Cleaning your solar panels too often allows the risk of developing microscopic scratches in the coating, at which little pieces of dirt will attach very soon after the cleaning process.
8) Increase the yield and extend the lifetime of your solar panels
PID or Potential Induced Degradation occurs on all photovoltaic panels, often without the owner of the installation being aware of it.
Because of PID the solar panels degrade faster and therefore don’t achieve the expected return during their lifetime. The degradation process occurs after 2 or 3 years and after this it will proceed fast.
The yield losses caused by Potential Induced Degradation can be avoided by installing a PIDbox. This device is installated between the solar panels and the inverter to regenerate the affected solar cells and to extend their lifetime.
9) Avoid shade
Avoid at all costs shadow objects that are caused for example by dormers, chimneys, trees,… If shadow on your solar panels is inevitable, attach a separate MPTT (Maximum Power Point Tracker) to limit the efficiency losses. Otherwise, your installation will inevitably be less profitable.
10) Do an annual check
Have your plant checked every year, or at least perform a visual check yourself! Since prevention is better than cure, permanent