Solar Power is currently one of the fastest growing forms of renewable energy on the planet. With such rapid growth, there is bound to be misconceptions due to outdated or incorrect information. This week’s Blog addresses a few of the most common misconceptions and the facts surrounding those misconceptions.
Solar Lighting Fixtures:
Brightness, efficiency and reliability are the 3 main pillars in the lighting category and are often a point of detailed discussion with our client base. Solar Lighting fixtures have come a long way and are currently just as bright as their hardwired counterpart. Most solar lights are now designed with larger batteries, resulting in days of backup power even without consistent sunlight. Solar lighting fixtures are not only great for residential purposes as a low-cost lighting solution but are fantastic for commercial billboard and sign lighting. The utilization of solar lighting is typically far more cost efficient then running electrical power.
Solar Panels, Efficiency and Operation Temperatures:
One of the most common points of confusion is optimal operating temperatures for both grid tied and off grid solar panel arrays. People often link hot temperatures and solar panel performance together, which is not correct. Most solar panels work best in slightly colder, sunny conditions. The reason behind this is the rate of conductivity, which increases in colder temperatures. The manufacture standards state peak performance at around 77 Degrees Fahrenheit.
A great option for maintaining a lower temperature range is to leave at least a 6-inch space in between the solar panels and the mounting surface. This will allow for proper air flow. Another great option is to consider a ground mount configuration over a roof mount.
Daylight Vs Direct Sunlight:
This next misconception is not only important to keep in mind with large solar panel arrays, but often plays a large part in the success of smaller, residential lighting fixtures. Lets discuss the difference between daylight exposure and direct sunlight exposure. The majority of solar fixtures and panels require direct sunlight, NOT daylight, in order to operate properly. Meaning the solar panel should be exposed to the actual rays of light for as long as possible, and not be installed in a shady location. Obviously, the angle of the sun changes throughout the day, which is why facing towards the southern exposure at a slight angle is the best place for your solar panels.
Daytime and Nighttime Operation:
Almost every solar powered fixture features an internal battery source. Solar panels DO NOT store power and therefore require a battery source for continuous and reliable operation. The solar panel creates and sends power to the internal battery via the energy of the sun, which stores the power, and allows the fixture to illuminate once the sensor registers a low light environment. There are some exceptions to this rule, for example, certain solar fans and ventilation systems will only require operation during the day, and do not feature a battery source.
We take great pride in our ability to accurately recommend products based on each individual application, and hope this information helped you understand and properly utilize solar power. As always, we are just a phone call away (877-548-3387) and are happy to offer our expertise on all of your solar power needs.