The sun as threat to your solar array?, you might wonder if my brain suffered from working in the sun. Still the sun can cause your system to fail if you don't take the necessary precautions. So what am I talking about?
The sun can really damage your solar system, in fact the energy conversion losses in the form of heat can do that job. But there are creative methods to turn this potential killer into a bonus to your free energy supply.
Boy This is Frustrating!!!
Let assume that you invested heavily and a 1000 Wp Photovoltaic System is your proudly covering your roof. Summer comes and you can't wait to see all those free Watts chew chunks of your energy bill.
During the most beautiful long summer days your systems seems to vigorously under perform. 70 - 80 % or 700 - 800 Watts is what you get out. Since you have been monitoring your system prior to the summer heat you have seem it churn out that 1 kW so you know its possible, yet when the circumstances seem ideal it just will not deliver.
What is wrong
If your panels are easily accessibly you can feel the problem. Touch them on one of these perfect summer days! Boy, they are hot. Yes they are and there you have your answer. Heat, solar radiation, heat from the energy conversion process and heat because of resistance.
Whenever a high current is running through a conductor, or a conducting semiconductor it will cause it to heat up. Just think of the processor in your computer. Add the suns radiation on an absorbing surface like the dark colored solar panels and you will understand why it gets hot. A semiconductor, what your panel actually is, has the characteristic of being increasingly less effective as the temperature rises.
Check outputs when the panels are cool.
You can check that when a cold front passes. there you will have a few minutes of intense sunlight followed by clouds, you will see peak outputs during those sunny intervals. When the arrays are cool.
What lesson is there to be learned
Well we can approach it as an unwelcome yet unavoidable problem, and to counteract this unwanted effect to some extend optimize the ventilation under your panels or see it as an opportunity to achieve an even greater energy efficiency. I suggest you do both.
But allow it get your mind spinning as well. Heat means energy. Spray you panels so they cool down and you will end up with a higher output and warm water. There are a great many ways that you could use this access heat. Cooling, Heating water or your pool, driving a stirling engine to name a few. There are no right or wrong ways, try to be creative about the idea and who knows what comes up.
The fact remains that the heat we generated as by product of our electricity production can be a serious threat to your system. The temperature of a semiconductor has to stay within certain boundaries. If not it will not only diminish the efficiency of your solar array but will potentially destroy it.
Yes, now we are real energy producers with the same problems the big guys from the electricity companies have. How do we keep our systems cool.
In our blog you can find an entry where we discuss another threat to our system. Although the result is heat, it deals about partials shadows falling over your string.
Right, the sun as potential killer of solar systems, but only if we can't find ways to either eliminate that energy or put it to use. Since we have to do something the latter sounds the best to me.
Hans is author of many writings and studies about wind turbines and turbine development and expert in Solar Energy and Photovoltaic Systems He actively involved in the development and generation of new ideas as well as in investment opportunities in the field of renewable energy resources. He can be found at http://www.alternative-energy-guide.com
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