Monthly Archives: June 2019

Your Solar Guide: Solar Panel Performance Terminology

The quality of solar panels determines the efficiency and performance of your system. Not all company’s install high-quality panels on your project. Solar Chief is committed to equipping its customers with the most reliable and efficient solar panels. To learn more about Solar Chief and contact us today!

Solar Panel Performance Terminology

Solar Efficiency Terms

AMPM standard: rating indicates how solar panels perform from peak sunlight hours to nonpeak sunlight hours. Indicates how a panel will perform and takes into account light variations during the day, ambient temperatures and factors related to air mass that affect solar energy potential.

Normal operating cell temperature (NOCT) rating: rating of a solar power system’s potential to withstand factors that affect efficiency. The calculation uses peak sunshine during the assessment.

Peak watt rating: this number reflects testing in laboratory conditions and shows how much energy in peak watts (Wp) a solar module generates.

Solar Energy Performance Terms

Current at maximum power (Im): rates the solar panel’s production of electricity after inverting solar power into DC power.

Current-voltage (IV): ratings compare the differences in terms of output when insolation (the amount of light that falls on a panel) and temperature vary. This rating is useful for learning how a solar panel will perform as the temperature changes and sunlight potential decreases on a cloudy day.

Nominal voltage (Vn): shows the voltage compatible with the solar panels. This often ranges from six to 24 volts, but it can be 48 volts or even more.

Rated power: shows the solar panel’s ability to sustain power output throughout the day, defines the panel’s peak capacity.

Temperature at rated power: is a standard that manufacturers use to rate solar panels’ performance at a specific temperature.

Voltage at peak power (Vp): the panel’s maximum voltage output when it’s producing electricity at its highest rate.

Solar Impacts on Wildlife

Solar Impacts on Wildlife

The goal of solar installs is to reduce environmental impacts. So it is important to understand if the installation of solar projects will harm wildlife. In a world where oil spills are presently contaminating the habitat, food, and water supply around them, solar power is looking like a great clean solution. Below is research done on the impact large scale farm projects have on wildlife.

Solar modules require the use of other electrical equipment, such as inverters and connection boxes, which emit some noise. The frequency of most inverters is 50-60 Hz, the same as AC electricity in your home or commercial building, which is within the range audible to humans and well below the higher frequencies used to repel animals. Sound is generally not audible at the edge of the fenced boundary, but if audible, the sound is similar in volume to background noises and dissipates to inaudible 50 – 150 feet from the edge of the boundary. 

Solar and Birds

The birds are much better off with solar panels than in oil spills. But not all renewable energy is a safe haven for animals. Collisions with wind turbines cause bird deaths everyday. Birds are unlikely to be impacted by stationary solar array installation.

Solar modules create an opportunity for avian interactions. PV modules are generally less reflective than windows and have been installed and monitored for avian impacts at numerous airports. Nonetheless, avian injuries and mortalities may occur through collisions with power lines, vehicles, fencing, and solar equipment and structures such as modules. There are some concerns that birds might misconstrue solar installations for bodies of water and attempt to land on them, but this has not been proven. A 2017 comprehensive survey of all solar and bird interactions in the UK determined that “bird collision risk from solar panels is very low. There is likely to be more of a collision risk to birds presented by infrastructure associated with solar PV developments, such as overhead power lines.”


Financial Incentives: Impact on Property Value

Solar Homes Sell for a Premium

Buying a solar energy system will likely increase your home’s value. A recent study found that solar panels are viewed as upgrades, just like a renovated kitchen or a finished basement, and home buyers across the country have been willing to pay a premium of about $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array. Additionally, there is evidence homes with solar panels sell faster than those without. In 2008, California homes with energy efficient features and PV were found to sell faster than homes that consume more energy. Keep in mind, these studies focused on homeowner-owned solar arrays.