Winter is approaching and sunshine is getting more scarce, so it’s inevitable that your solar system is going to start producing less electricity. It’s true that up to three times more solar energy can be generated in the summer peak than during the least productive periods in winter.
Not to worry, we have compiled some tips to help you make the most out of your solar system.
1. Clean your solar panels
Solar panels are generally self cleaning, but in Zimbabwe dust and other substances such as bird droppings can build up over time and impact on the amount electricity generated by a module. Grime and bird poop doesn’t need to cover an entire panel to have an effect. This is where cleaning solar panels may have to be done. The cleaner the solar panel is, the better it can harvest energy especially in cloudy conditions (winter).
2. Switch off unnecessary loads
- Make sure you only use the necessary loads that are required. Turn off excessive lighting when not needed.
- Disconnect ghost loads that consume power even when off as long as they are plugged in. A perfect example is that of a Television. Over a period of 24 hours, a plugged in TV consumes the same power as when it is ON for 90 minutes.
- Replace all the high wattage bulbs or florescent lights with energy efficient ones. You could save about 75% of energy consumed by a 60 watt bulb by replacing it with a 15 watt energy efficient light, without sacrificing your light output.
3. Use Grid or Generator to boost your battery bank.
If a constant power supply is crucial, make sure that you have a backup generator ready and tested for functionality in advance. Some fuel supply would be handy as well..
You can use the generator or the electricity to charge your solar batteries so that they can come in handy when you don’t have electricity anymore and don’t have much from solar panels because of cloudy weather.
4. Consider adding more solar panels
You will be able to see the weaknesses of your solar system throughout this winter period.
When you first built your solar system, you most likely had a very restricted budget to cover the expense of a larger system.
When your system is having trouble getting through the winter, it may be a hint that you need to upgrade.
Many peoplemake the mistake of expanding their battery bank before replacing their solar panels on this one. This may function for a few months, but due to undercharging, their battery bank will eventually suffer.
Consider increasing your solar panels capacity first, see how it goes, then add on new batteries if there is need. You can contact us for help on this one.