Commercial HVAC Systems: Staying Street Wise

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How to Maximize a Solar Panel System in Less Than Ideal Weather

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Advances in solar cell efficiency and materials are making solar panel systems a reality for those in less than perfect weather conditions. No longer do solar panels need to be installed in only dry, super sunny area. Homeowners in cooler climates and overcast conditions are still able to take advantage of solar panel system utility

First, the weather doesn't have to be sunny for a solar panel to absorb the sun's rays. Solar panels absorb the sun's rays of light, and this includes the invisible spectrum. We've all experienced a sunburn on overcast days or through thin clothing, and it is a similar principle here. Unfortunately, when the weather is not sunny, the power generated by the solar panel is significantly reduced but not removed entirely.

Second, angles of solar panels and the use of mirrors or other magnifying instruments can help overcome a lack of direct sunlight. Many solar panel companies in less than ideal weather areas are experimenting with ways to artificially magnify the sun's rays to increase power production. Only experienced solar panel specialists should be involved with systems to use mirrors or other devices to overcome adverse weather conditions.

Homeowners in certain harsh weather climates should also invest in a solar panel system with durable frames. Although wood and aluminium frames are more affordable, the will not stand up to years of snow or heavy rains without deteriorating. The acidity or salt levels in moisture should also be taken into account when selecting a frame for solar panels. More durable frames of composite materials and stainless steel are the ideal frames for solar panels in places with harsh winters or high precipitation rates.

Snow can be problematic for solar panel system owners. Hardware stores and online specialty stores now sell "roof rakes" that can reach up to 20-30 feet and slide the snow off the roof. For solar panel use, homeowners should make sure there is a rubber bottom to the aluminium plating to prevent scratching or other damage to the solar panels themselves. Removing the snow can bring energy production levels back up, and it prevents the snow from compacting in slow-to-melt and hard to remove sheets of ice.

Another savvy trick for homes in heavy snow conditions is in the wiring. Since solar panel systems are wired together, obstruction in one area can heavily affect the entire solar panel grid's power output. Talk to your solar panel installation specialist and try to make sure the top of the solar panel system on the roof is as unaffected as possible from obstruction on the lower portion of the solar panels. The top portion of the roof is the area more likely to have snow slide off due to the sharp angle and remain unobstructed to sunlight.

Just because you don't have the super sunny days doesn't mean a solar panel system is a waste of money. More efficient solar cells, durable solar panel frames, and tricks to handle snow are all it takes for those in harsher climates to enjoy the energy cost savings of a solar panel system. People in colder climates think solar panels can't work for them and are less likely to pursue a system. But today's solar panel systems do not absorb heat from the sun like much older systems, but the rays of the sun which shine through clouds, snow, and even rain.