Solar Panels are the heart and soul of a solar power system. They constitute the biggest expense of a PV system. There are 3 basic things that need to be taken care of while planning to install your solar panels. They are:
Solar Panel Location
– This is to determine where the solar panels need to be installed.
Solar Panel tilting
– This is to tilt the panels and it depends upon on your home’s latitude and longitude
Solar tracking System
–This is to position your panels to track the sun for maximum energy production.
The following points constitute a step by step guideline to be followed when installing a solar panel:
Location of Solar Panel Installation
Solar Panels are to be exposed to maximum sunlight for better efficiency.
Typically they are mounted on roof tops so that they are exposed to maximum sun light. They can also be mounted on poles or directly on the ground.
Ground mounted PV systems requires the most simplest form of installation, but needs lot of space.
Roof top solar though very common, but has a drawback of difficult maintenance. Though solar panels are maintenance free, cleaning a roof top solar or repairing them can be a difficult task.
The height of the free standing or pole mounted PV arrays can be set so that maintenance becomes easy.
So while planning for a solar Panel installation, the advantage of easy maintenance must be weighed against the additional space required for the PV Array installation.
Tilting of solar panels
Solar panels need to be tilted to an angle so that they are exposed to maximum sunlight. They need to face true south in the northern hemisphere or the true north in the southern hemisphere.
The simplest method is to have a fixed tilt for your solar panels and leave them undisturbed. But tilting the panels according to the season and sun’s position would yield better results.
Basically, The solar panels must be tilted from the horizontal to a degree equal to the latitude of the place, where they are installed, plus 15 degrees in the winter, or minus 15 degrees in the summer.
There are other calculations involved for tilt angle which we will cover later.
Solar tracking system is a device to continuously track the sun and to keep the solar panel at the right angle ( tilting angle) .
Solar Tracking arrays move with the sun using a stepper motor and a light sensor. Solar tracking systems are either fixed or tracking. Fixed solar mounting systems are preset for height and angle and do not move. Since the angle of the sun changes throughout the year, the height and angle of fixed mount arrays are a compromise that trades optimum angle for a less expensive, less complex installation.