What do Sunflowers and Solar Panels have in common? They both like to face the sun. Sunflowers will grow at a fast rate in order to reach a height that captures as much sun as possible. Similarly solar panels work best on a roof or tall structure to eliminate shade and maximize the amount of sun it can capture. Sunflowers also face the sun, depending on the hemisphere. Similarly, solar panels on the northern hemisphere will face south towards the equator. And solar panels in the southern hemisphere will face north towards the equator. Nature continues to be a model that inspires creativity and innovation. Where will inspiration come next?
Solar panels are typically installed on Roofs, commercial warehouses, and farm fields. But what about all the other wasted spaces? Parking lots are a great open space to put a solar canopy. And parking garages could have a solar canopy on the top floor. Deployment of solar often turns a big open empty space into a money-generating space.
What about other creative spaces? Floating arrays over large bodies of water and lakes; on top of a Tractor-trailer trailer; the future of solar will include thinking about creative spaces to maximize the green energy and to maximize energy savings.
As the solar industry continues to grow, more solar arrays are popping up nationwide. One of the locations used for solar panels is installing them in farm fields. Instead of a farmer growing crops in their field, they install rows of solar to capture sunlight. This allows farmers to collect revenue more consistently throughout the year. Recently there have been new strides in solar farming, including adding crops underneath the solar panels. This maximizes the space by growing crops on the ground while collecting solar above them. These types of solutions will propel the renewable energy industry and work towards a cleaner future.
There was a recent development in the science of solar panels. A new paper thin solar cell was developed by researchers, and although it is still in its preliminary stages, the technology presents a myriad of possibilities and applications. Imagine installing this paper thin solar cell on your cell phone to charge it. Perhaps these paper thin solar cells could be stitched into articles of clothing to charge your devices while you are on the go. One proposed idea was installing these solar cells onto a ships sail in order to power the onboard electronics. Or even installing these cells into the shingles of your house. Whatever this technology is used for it offers us new possibilities for localized energy.
As the days begin to warm with spring around the corner, many will start spring cleaning. If you own a PV solar array, what steps can you take to perform a “spring cleaning”?
One step is to clean off your modules. By cleaning the dirt and debris off of solar panels, you can increase the total yield of the system. In addition, having your O&M provider perform annual site maintenance checks will help maximize your system’s output as we move into the high-production summer months. Always practice proper roof safety when working on or around a PV solar array. You can get your system clean and ready to produce with a few extra steps!
Contact Gordian Energy Systems if you need help.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is one of NASA’s latest telescopes that hopes to better understand the universe. But how does the JWST stay on? The JSWT utilizes solar panels to power its internal systems. Satellites were one of the first uses for Solar Panels, and the Vanguard 1 satellite was one of the first to be powered by solar energy. The JWST consists of (5) solar panels that make up a 2kW system, but its still enough to power the onboard systems. The use of solar panels has allowed us to look further into the universe and learn more about ourselves. See the articles below for more information about the solar panels on the JWST, or to see breathtaking photos captured by the telescope.
Did you know a PV solar array can help remove snow? Even when a solar panel is covered in snow, some light still reaches the solar cells. That small solar production will generate heat and in turn, melt the snow around it. Once more of the panel is uncovered, it will absorb more sunlight, creating even more heat and eventually melting the snow. With PV solar, snow doesn’t stick around for long!
As the Solar Industry continues to grow, new technologies and solutions are developing for ensuring quality control across the PV system. One such solution is using Aerial Thermography to identify deficiencies within the array. Aerial Thermography can identify module hot spots, panels not plugged in, issues with the PV strings, and damaged material. Aerial Thermography can be more reliable than hand-held thermography at ground level. Solar industry leaders will aim to incorporate these changes into the industry to maximize the quality and service provided to customers.
Any customer looking to build a commercial or industrial solar array uses PV Production Modeling to estimate their system’s Annual Production. With this data, they are able to determine their return on investment and payback period, i.e. “how long it will take for the system to produce enough electricity to pay for itself.” However, the accuracy of production modeling is affected by the accuracy of the weather data, 3D models, and equipment data the model uses. As the solar industry continues to grow and utilize new technologies, leading companies will continue to improve upon the accuracy of modeling to maximize their client’s return on investment.