It is hard to argue against the benefits of solar energy. It is clean, free, and reliable. In recent years, solar power has gone from being a novelty to a viable, affordable option for many people.
The process of going solar is not always simple though. Not everyone knows where to start. If you are thinking about installing solar panels, one of the first things you will need to do is draw a solar energy diagram.
What is a solar energy diagram? How do you create one?
Keep reading to learn more about creating a diagram for solar installation and where to begin.
Gather site-specific data
Gathering site-specific data is an essential step in preparing an accurate solar energy diagram. Before creating a solar energy diagram, it is important to collect data about the particular location, such as geographic latitude, terrain features, and existing shade. Make sure to also include access to the sun’s position during different times of the day and potentially hazardous conditions or obstacles to installation.
This data should be collected from both the visible environment and accessible records. After gathering information about the site, solar designers can consider sun angles, determine system size and placement, create a layout of the system components, and create a plan for wiring and connections.
Additionally, estimated energy production values can be calculated. This data is integral to creating an accurate solar energy diagram.
Determine the sun’s path
When attempting to prepare an accurate solar energy diagram for determining the sun’s path, research the local area and climate to accurately map the position of the sun according to the time of year and geographic longitude and latitude. Use a clear sky day to accurately map the sun’s path according to the shadow cast by the sun or other structures.
It may also be helpful to take multiple readings over monthly intervals to take into account any changes in the sun’s path due to the season and weather. Make use of:
- Accurate diagrams
- Other visual references
These of which can be extremely helpful in accurately mapping out the sun’s path. An accurate solar energy diagram can be created, which will enable someone to correctly predict the movements of the sun and, by extension, take optimum advantage of its renewable energy potential.
Consider shading analysis
Considering shading analysis will ensure that the system gets the most usable sunlight. The first step is to determine the location of the solar panels and identify any trees, structures, or other obstacles that can cast shade on the system. Once identified, a detailed analysis should be conducted to determine the total sunlight exposure.
Shade affects solar performance, as shade impedes the maximum performance of solar panels. Shading affects or leads to:
- Light intensity. This is due to a decrease in light intensity when shadows are present. This means the amount of light that reaches the solar cell is restricted. This results in a decrease in electrical production.
- Panel temperature. Shade also produces a decrease in panel temperature. This reduces solar cell efficiency by reducing the number of electrons created.
- Wattage output. Shade causes a decrease in wattage output. This as well is the amount of electrical current that is produced from the solar panels.
- Electrical losses. Shade causes electrical losses due to the reflection and absorption of light by the object that is causing the shadow. This reduces the amount of light available for the solar cells to convert to electricity.
Shade should be avoided whenever possible when installing rooftop solar systems to achieve maximum solar performance. Additionally, tracking systems that are mostly provided by solar energy companies like Blue Raven Solar can be used to identify the amount of sunlight in various concentric circles around a given panel or installation location, which are mostly affected by shading. Accurate records should be kept related to sunlight duration and intensity, allowing for the creation of a highly detailed and accurate solar energy diagram.
Choose appropriate solar software
When preparing a solar energy diagram, it is important to start by selecting the most appropriate solar software. Taking into account the personal preferences of the homeowner, the movement of the sun, and the size and type of the rooftop, the software should simulate the system’s performance.
A careful selection of solar panels and components should also be made to ensure accurate predictions. After that, solar panel angles, the number of panels, and efficient wiring techniques should be well-considered to maximize the efficiency of the energy produced.
Solar tracking with the right software should also be implemented where possible to increase the captured energy from the sun. Finally, considering the type of climate in the area, insulation and shading of the panels should also be taken into consideration. Taking all the necessary precautions, a precise solar energy diagram can be created with ease.
Size your solar panels correctly
To ensure optimal energy output, solar panels should be sized based on several factors. This includes:
- Desired solar energy output
- Total number of required panels
- Spatial area available
- Budget constraints
When planning and calculating, it’s important to overestimate rather than underestimate to account for environmental factors such as:
- Nearby buildings
- External objects
All of which can affect the overall production. The right solar panel size rule is to match the solar panel’s capacity (measured in watts) with the energy consumption needs of the site or the specific purpose for which the solar panels are being installed.
In other words, the size of the solar panel system should be based on the amount of electricity required to meet the power demands of the location or application. To optimise the use of solar energy resources, assessing and accurately sizing your solar panels is key.
Prepare an accurate solar energy diagram
Analyzing considerations such as sun path, roof type, environmental elements, and more can help you create an accurate solar energy diagram. Doing your research in advance, correctly sizing the solar array based on your energy needs, and working with a qualified solar expert can help ensure a successful solar energy installation.
Contact a solar provider today and get help on how to prepare an accurate solar energy diagram.
Zuella Montemayor did her degree in psychology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.