How to Mount Solar Panels for Maximum Efficiency
If you own your business and are looking to decrease your operating costs, one of the things you should consider is collecting solar electricity to lower your utility bills. Unlike an average home, businesses can consume a lot of power — especially if most of the employees are working on computers — so it’s very important to maximize the efficiency of your solar panels. The best ways to do so, however, might surprise you.
How Does a Solar Electricity System Work?
Solar power works by absorbing the sun’s energy using photovoltaic panels covered with special cells. Naturally, the angle of the panel compared to the sun is a factor in determining how much power is captured. The ideal angle is perpendicular to the sun. The power that is collected is then converted into solar electricity so that regular appliances can run on it.
Most solar energy systems don’t store power, so buildings are usually still hooked into the regular power grid, allowing them to draw power from the utility company at night or when it isn’t sunny enough to provide adequate power. However, when a system is collecting more than can be used, the meter will actually run backwards, offsetting the cost of any power drawn from the grid.
What Kind of Mounting is Most Efficient?
Many solar mounting systems fix the panels or set them up such that they can be manually tilted. Getting the most out of solar panels can be difficult, however, with these kinds of mountings; since the sun moves, fixed panels can only be at an optimum angle for a tiny portion of the day. This is why, surprisingly, solar panel mounts can have more to do with solar efficiency than the solar panels themselves.
Solar tracking systems follow the movement of the sun throughout the day, always keeping the panel at the ideal tilt. Solar tracking systems can help panels achieve 10%-40% higher efficiency (depending on the season) than fixed panels.
Do you already have solar panels installed on your commercial building, or are you considering having some installed? Ask questions and join the discussion in the comments.