Maximum Solar Panel Outputs

Depending on the technology, peak power ratings for panels may not be what you achieve in practice. It’s important to know that the tests that deliver the peak ratings occur close to the north pole. The most important element of that location is the low temperatures. Mono-crystalline and Polycrystalline solar panels each loos around 15% of their peak when they are in a location with high temperatures, say on top of your roof with the sun beating down on it. So if you are looking to get the most out of your panels, keep them cool, and oh yeah, keep them in direct sunlight too.

I’ve actually yet to monitor my panels reading peak power. They’ve reached about 90% of their maximum output in cool weather in direct sunlight. In cloudy weather (Rainy days) expect outputs around 5%.

Another important element of getting efficiency or peak power from your panels is to run your system at a higher voltage like 24 volts rather than 12 volts. Using the higher voltage results in less energy loss as it travels through wires routed to your batteries or inverters. To save even more energy from escaping the wire, keep connections short; DC power dissipates quickly as heat with long wires unlike AV power, that’s one of the benefits of panels with inverters built in.

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