How to Optimise Your Home Solar Setup for the Winter
Since the winter months are approaching, do you need to do anything about your existing rooftop solar system to make it perform better?
Most likely, when your solar system was installed, it followed the angle of your roof (unless you have a flat roof, in which case, panels will be tilted on mounting frames). The angle of your roof varies on your home’s architecture – plus your city, for example, the ideal angle of a rooftop solar system in Melbourne is 38°, equal to the latitude angle of the city (37.81°). In Brisbane, the latitude angle is 27.46°.
If you want to maximise solar generation during winter months, you would ideally increase the tilt angle of your rooftop panels for maximum exposure to the low winter sun. As a guide, it’s common to angle at the latitude plus 15° for maximum winter sun exposure.
Maximum solar system performance relies on your solar panels being installed at the optimum angle.
The optimum angle of solar panels differs during winter months and your solar system’s output is not as great when the panel angle is not ideal, so it’s important to be clear about what you want to achieve from your solar system.
Solar Systems and the impact of Flat Roofs.
Maximum solar system performance relies on your solar panels being installed at the optimum angle. This is why, when you have a flat roof and ask a solar system quote, you’ll usually see an included charge for a mounting frame. Normally, the additional cost of buying this mount is dwarfed by the benefits of the improved performance you can expect from your solar system being installed at its optimum angle.
So what is the impact of installing solar systems on flat roofs? This varies significantly depending on where you live, for example, a flat roof in Sydney will operate at 87% of its optimum performance, whereas a flat roof in Darwin will operate at 96%. Hurting performance are two main factors: one, the flatter the roof, the greater the loss of solar exposure and, two, the flatter the roof, the greater the build up of dust and grime that doesn’t get easily washed away by rain.
The situation differs again for a city like Brisbane, where the latitude angle is 27.46°. A flat roof in Brisbane will operate at 90% of its optimum capacity for the location. In terms of Australia, the further north you go, the lower the latitude angle. The effect of flat rooftops is less and less of an issue.
The Importance of Regular Solar System Cleaning.
Modern rooftop solar systems require little maintenance, but clean systems will outperform dirty or dusty ones. Dirt, dust, debris and grime blocks out sunlight, reducing solar panel efficiency and therefore impacting savings you should expect on your electricity bill. The good news is that rainfall cleans panels, although sometimes it’s not enough. If your garden hose doesn’t reach your panels, we recommend booking an annual clean to keep your solar system in optimum condition.