Solar Panels Energy Efficiency Test
Sun produces an unlimited amount of light energy. And it’s the main reason why solar energy is considered more energy efficient and affordable. It improves homes and businesses savings while having a reliable power source. In fact, many Australians today prefer to have a solar system installed at home as an additional, or sometimes, the main supplier of electricity.
There are many things to consider before installing yours. One of them is solar energy efficiency. It’s important to test and know how to do it properly so you can avoid complications in the future.
Importance of solar energy efficiency test
Solar panels energy efficiency is the amount of energy from the sun converted to electricity. Here’s why it’s important to run the test.
- Determine energy output
Solar panel efficiency test uses a photovoltaic system which combines with latitude and climate to determine the energy output of a solar panel. It’s a good idea to hire a professional to estimate and balance the energy output with your energy usage for the entire year.
- Ascertain solar panel size
By performing this test, you can estimate the size of solar panels to ensure there is enough space before the actual installation process.
- Help select the correct cooling mechanism
Climate conditions such as extreme temperatures may cause overheating. It can affect the overall performance and output of a solar system. So, it’s a requirement to install solar panels cooling mechanism right after you install one.
- Determine solar panels positioning
The position, pitch, and tilt of solar panels have a huge impact on its efficiency as most solar panels are installed on roofs.
Steps on checking solar energy efficiency
- Consider the weather
Run the test on a bright sunny day to get the most amount of light energy. Also, check the manual for the exact voltage of solar panels set by the manufacturer.
- Open the converter box
Expose the connections of the converter box, especially the positive and negative connections. To avoid confusion which is which, use the manual as your guide.
- Set the multimeter to measure a voltage
Set the multimeter to measure voltage. Configure the voltage at a high level, particularly higher than the solar panel’s rated voltage (which indicated in the manual). For example, if the solar panel is rated at 10 volts, set the multimeter to 100 volts.
Note: Rated(Voltage/Ampere)is the maximum amount of voltage or current which the solar panel is designed to work. Or simply the maximum amount of voltage or current needed so a solar panel can work properly.
Voltage/Ampere Rating refers to multimeter reading. The value appears on the multimeter.
- Measure the voltage of a solar panel
A solar panel works efficiently if the voltage rating matches the exact voltage set by the manufacturer. In some instances, you will encounter a slight difference. Do not panic as this is not a problem.
- Switch the settings of a multimeter to measure current
Aside from voltage, you should measure ampere ratings(amount of current flow)too. How should you do it? By doing the same procedure on how to measure voltage.
Disconnect the multimeter wires to the converter box, set the multimeter to measure DC amperes, and do not forget to configure it higher than the rated amperes.
Warning! Do not change the multimeter settings while the connection is live, as this can result to spark.
- Finally, measure the current
Put away the panel from the sun and reconnect the wires (refer to step 4). Put the solar panels where there is direct sunlight. Switch on the multimeter.
The ampere rating should match the exact ampere set by the manufacturer. If the reading is slightly higher, you can still consider it energy efficient.
After the test, if the voltage and ampere ratings are close to the manufacturer ratings, then you can rest assured that the solar panel is highly energy efficient and working properly.
Do you want to be more energy efficient using your solar panels? Check the feed-in-tariffs you may receive here.