A solar system guide will be quite helpful this winter. You have noticed that winter is sometimes the enemy of your solar system. This is so because we rarely get sunshine in winter and everything looks dull. Even the grass will be shrunk brown and some trees will lose their beautiful leaves and flowers. What’s more important as well is the fact that you also use more energy in your house hold during winter, because you almost spend most of your time indoors.
However today, with this solar system guide, we will share with you a few tips on how to make the most out of your solar system during this period. This information is very important because many solar systems disappoint in winter. But with a few how to’s, we will help you minimize the boredom of being in the darkness on a cold day.
Why do solar systems struggle to make it through winter?
In Zimbabwe, you have noticed that in winter we will have long nights and short days. This is so because the ‘sun will have migrated to the north’ a bit (even though we all know that science says the sun does not move but it’s the earth that moves). This means that our north facing solar panels will get decreased amount of sunshine. In addition to decreased sunshine, cloud cover will creep in as well, thus limiting the time that your solar panels will harvest the free energy from the sun
Consequently, the energy you harvest during winter will be far less than what you usually get in bright and warm summer season (I love summer time!). As a result, you will see that many times you will consume more power with your gadgets, than what you will be generating from the sun. This results in your batteries running out and an inevitable black out! Gosh!
So, what is the solution to all this? Do not worry, today we will share you a few secrets.
1 Save power
Well, there is no rounding through this, but you need to save the little power that you have. You need to be very conscious of the way you are using your energy, because sometimes we waste our energy from doing things that are unnecessary. What are those? In this solar system guide we encourage you to follow these tips:
- If you are using old incandescent lights, switch to LED lights, they save a lot of power
- Care to switch off lights in unoccupied rooms and always make sure outside lights are off during the day.
- Switch off your appliances directly on the socket outlet. You may have noticed that when your children switch off the TV, they use the remote, leaving the standby light on. Standby mode consumes power unnecessarily, we encourage you to switch items on the wall socket outlet.
- Do not leave the fridge door open unnecessarily because “coolness’ will escape from the fridge. When this happens, your fridge compressor will keep on running in order to keep the fridge cool. Consequently, this increases your power consumption.
- Decrease your power usage during the day when there is cloud cover. Your solar panels’ output drop to 25% of full capacity on a cloudy day, therefore you need to shed off some of your load in order not to drain out your batteries during the day.
2. Keep your solar batteries warm
Your solar batteries performance reduces when they are in very low temperature. Sub zero temperatures causes your batteries to easily discharge. If your solar batteries are outside the home, make sure they are in an insulated covering and if they are inside, make sure you keep them at room temperature. Make sure they are not directly on the ground or any very cold surface
3. Clean your solar panels of dust
Maybe you installed your solar panels some years or months behind. Eventually dust will settle in the surface of your solar panels. As a result, your solar panels will not collect energy very efficiently because that layer of dust will reflect some of the light away from your solar panels. This will result in you losing some of the energy to charge your solar batteries. Simply clean off the dust with a cloth and water, and you will increase your chances of getting more energy from the sun
4. Consider increasing the number of your solar panels
During this winter period, you will have an opportunity to see the weakness of your solar system. Most probably you had a very limited budget to foot the cost of a bigger system when you first installed your solar. When your system is struggling to pull through winter, it may well be a sign that you definitely need an upgrade.
On this one many people make the mistake of increasing the size of their battery bank, before upgrading their solar panels. This might work for a few months but eventually their battery bank will suffer because of undercharging.Consider increasing your solar panels capacity first, see how it goes, then add on new batteries if there is need. You can contact us for help on this one.
5. Use Generator or Zesa to boost your batteries up