Spring is here and that means two important things:
1) Your solar potential is on the rise
2) It’s time for a little spring cleaning!
With the spring equinox behind us, we are now on the winning side when it comes to daylight hours – that is, if you live in the Northern hemisphere. Longer days mean more hours for your solar panels to soak up the sun’s rays. Not only that, the sun is higher in the sky and therefore, the path from the sun to your solar panels is more direct. Because the angle of the sun is steeper, solar rays don’t have to pass through as much atmosphere, meaning the solar radiation is not “diluted” on the way to your PV panel. In northern latitudes, this effect is magnified. For example, if you live in Ontario, April typically brings almost double the solar radiation compared to the average of January to March period (although the exact ratio will change from year to year). If you live further south, the difference is still significant. For example, in California, April values are 60% higher than the January-March average insolation values.
However, in order to benefit from this increase in solar radiation, it’s important that your solar panels be in optimal working condition. Over time, dust and grime are deposited on your solar panels, reducing their efficiency. Spring is a great time to give them a clean. Hire a professional familiar with your system to bring them back to peak performance (or if you’re a do-it-yourself type, consider cleaning the protective glass cover of your panels with a non-abrasive cleaning agent). The difference between a dirty panel and a clean one can be drastic. In some cases a good scrub can double your energy production, as Google learned the hard way.
Solar panels are low maintenance investments, but this doesn’t mean that they are maintenance free. Don’t let grime get in the way of your system performance!
Image courtesy of samarttiw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net