Solar panels work, as the name suggests, by converting energy from sunlight that falls onto the photovoltaic panels into electricity, either to be used straight away or stored for later. That’s all very well in sunny day, but what happens when it rains, or turns dull? Solar panels and bad weather, we can’t predict weather after a few hrs. Many parts of the UK have seen an extremely changeable Spring this year, with a few periods of sun interspersed with more frequent times of rain, clouds and even storms and hailstones.
The good news is that, even when the sun doesn’t shine down for hours on end, solar panels do still work, converting solar energy into electricity. Think about how we can still get sunburnt on an overcast day – some of the sun’s rays can still break through in a cloudy day.
While UV solar panels are more effective the brighter the day is, the technology carries on working, so long as there is some light available. In fact, the rain can even do the panels a favour, as it can wash away any dirt or debris on them, clearing the solar cells to react with sunlight, uninterrupted. So, how do you care for solar panels in adverse weather conditions and help them withstand a harsher environment?
How to care for solar panels in adverse weather conditions?
Ensure that the panels are secured tightly to the roof or flat surface when they are installed to prevent the wind from lifting and damaging them, or heavy snow pulling them out of position. Do your research carefully to make sure that you choose the most appropriate system for your individual circumstances and the weather that your area is most likely to encounter. Choose a supplier that can prove their products have undergone extensive testing in different conditions.
Solar panels that are not waterproofed properly can have rain get inside and damage individual cells. Rain can also flood the panel, meaning that less amount of sunlight can reach the parts that react with the solar energy. It can be very hard to repair a flooded panel, so it is wise to ensure that all components of the solar power system are waterproofed correctly and remain in that condition for their entire working life.
Keep up with local weather reports and forecasts so that you can have a better idea about what’s coming. Check your insurance policy to see what’s covered in terms of weather damage and know what to do if your electricity supply is suddenly interrupted or compromised. Have the details of a maintenance or repair company to hand in case you need to call on their services and finds out what protective measures you can take to look after your panels system in bad weather, e.g. by installing a cover of some kind.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Set up a regular maintenance contract so that you can have regular access to a solar panels expert to keep your system running efficiently. Keep an eye on your panels to make sure they stay as clean as possible – rain can help with this, but you may also need to get up there with some water and a cloth to wipe away any larger
patches of dirt, bird excrement, tree pollen, leaves or branches etc. and to keep the panels free to absorb solar energy as they are designed to do. Install a cover to help reduce the amount of cleaning work required
Winter Wear and Tear
Although the UK Spring hasn’t exactly been gloriously hot and sunny, the most common season for bad weather is, obviously, winter, with its colder temperatures and greater risk of snow, frost and hail. Protect your panels from damage from sharp hailstones, or lingering frost with toughened glass covers, e.g. plexiglass. These can be installed fairly easily and will prolong the useful life of your panels.
If you can do so safely – and only if this is the case – clear away any heavy snow that settles on the panels to prevent the weight from cracking them. If in doubt, call in a maintenance expert to do this job for you. Of course, you can also help prevent snow from building up when you first install the panels by having them at a tilted angle to help snow and other debris slide off.
Solar energy has played a huge part in cutting down on the use of fossil fuels across domestic households, as well as bringing more sustainable living more and more into the mainstream. Thanks to the efficiency of solar panels and the easy installation process, many people across the UK can enjoy the benefits of generating greener electricity.
Yet it is not just householders who enjoy the advantages of their community moving more towards a more sustainable way of generating electricity. Businesses, too, are discovering benefits to switching to solar panels for lighting, heating and powering their buildings. Enterprises that use a lot of energy, such as manufacturing businesses, are particularly in line to benefit from this innovative approach to sourcing the electricity they need.
Not only when it comes to the practical concerns around powering machinery, lighting workshops and keeping employees safe and comfortable at work, but also when they are considering their reputation as a progressive, ecologically sound and ethical company. Here’s why…
Related Reading: The Benefits Of Solar Panels To Your Household
Preserving fossil fuels
This is the biggie – the more energy that can be harvested from renewable sources such as the sun, water and wind, the fewer finite fossil fuels will be burned in order to meet the global demand for electricity. This helps preserve these valuable natural resources for future generations and raise public trust in alternative energy sources. On a day-to-day basis, solar power can help manufacturing businesses operate as normal and enjoy lower energy bills, but it can also help them to fulfil their obligations towards greener ways of working and responsible use of the planet’s finite resources.
Reducing carbon footprints
Hand in hand with preserving fossil fuels comes reducing the carbon footprint put out by labour-intensive businesses like manufacturing companies. The more commercial buildings and facilities that are powered by solar power and other renewable sources, the less of an impact that the company’s daily electricity use and individual carbon footprint will have on the general state of the planet. Installing solar panels is a highly effective way for a business to be seen to play its part in that.
Alternative energy is a growing sector, which brings with it new business openings, opportunities and jobs. From advisers to installers; insurers to engineers, solar energy is a growing sector that requires new expertise and skills to maintain and push it forward. For the manufacturing businesses themselves, it can be seen as a great way to attract ecologically minded employees who are keen to work with a greener company and who will display greater enthusiasm and loyalty to an employer who is clearly taking the issue seriously.
Supporting electric vehicles
As technology advances in the world of sustainable energy and solar power, so the electricity generated can help support other areas of progress and innovation. Electric vehicles are also growing in popularity and households will move more and more towards being able to recharge their cars at or close to home using electricity generated by solar power. If a manufacturing company can provide charging ports in its car parks or on its premises for employee or paying public use, this could be an excellent additional business opportunity for firms able to spread some sustainable love.
One oft-quoted concern around solar panels is how they will look when set against an existing landscape, especially in more secluded settings. The clash of traditional and ultra-modern is one that needs careful handling to avoid creating eyesores in the community and turning public goodwill against a manufacturing business. The good news is that solar panels are designed with this exact concern in mind, and a focus on making them unobtrusive, subtle and ascetically acceptable – or even pleasing to the eye when designed with care.
Installing solar panels has become a popular way to switch to a more sustainable way of living and to help lower household electricity bills, which is one of the many benefits of solar panels installation. The technology works by harnessing energy from the sun’s rays and converting it into electricity via a series of photovoltaic cells. This electricity can then either be used straight away or stored for future use at night or during duller weather when the sun is not producing quite so much solar energy.
Besides the advantage of switching to a more ecologically friendly method of energy production, what other benefits can accompany the installation of a solar panel system for your household? Let us know more about the different benefits of solar panels.
Related Reading: The Benefits Of Solar Panels For Manufacturing Businesses
Once the installation has been completed, householders can enjoy seeing a reduction in their energy bills pretty much straight away. As more of the electricity generated by the photovoltaic panels is used, so the amount taken from the National Grid lessens, reducing energy bills and lowering overall household outgoings.
Maintenance is simple to carry out once the system is in place, with many firms including routine servicing in the overall installation price.
Greater access to your own electricity, generated using the solar energy that hits your solar panel system, means a much reduced reliance on the National Grid to power your home. Less reliance means that you are no longer quite so dependent on the National Grid remaining in working order, less affected by blackouts through overuse or human error, and not quite so much at the mercy of electricity company price increases when they occur.
Solar power comes from the sun, which makes it one of the most easily accessible forms of renewable energy there is. Even when it is cloudier, the solar panels can still pick up energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.
When the sun is too weak or dark, the system stores excess electricity for future use, plus a dual approach that sees the household still connected to the National Grid for emergencies means that there is no interruption in electricity provision. Renewable energy sources and readily available are the major benefits of solar panel installation.
Young people learn much by observing the world around them, and living in a household that uses solar energy to power, light and heats the home can lead to lifelong sustainable habits that can help them enjoy the same benefits when they grow up and branch off into their own household further down the line. It can also help inform school projects on ecological lifestyles and alternative energy, as pupils can observe sustainable energy in action, right on their very own roof.
As electricity travels towards a household, it loses some of its energy along the way. The further away it must travel, the more power is lost. While the losses can be considered negligible in themselves, they can have a more serious impact on areas with a higher population density. Being able to generate the electricity you require on-site means that it doesn’t have to travel to you, and you can benefit from its entire energy quota.
Solar power technology is moving on apace, as the world continues to seek more sustainable methods of energy generation in order to protect finite fossil fuels. Solar panels have been around for many years now, with their efficacy, aesthetics and ease of installation advancing more and more as time goes by.
One innovative version of the technology is the introduction of solar panel roof tiles. These small photovoltaic panels are shaped to look like normal roof tiles while absorbing sunlight to convert it into electricity in the same way that standard solar panels do. They are the perfect solution for people who appreciate the idea of generating their own electricity via photovoltaic solar power but don’t like how the larger panels look on their building.
How efficient are solar roof tiles?
The best solar roof tiles are those that offer excellent efficiency to offer strong returns on their initial cost outlay.
There are three main types of solar panel roof tiles, all of which offer good efficiency.
On-roof installations are exactly what the name suggests – the tiles are fitted to a frame that is fixed to the top of the roof.
In-roof, or integrated solar panel roof tiles
In-roof, or integrated solar panel roof tiles, replace some of the roof’s existing tiles, so that they sit flush with the structure of the roof and are less visible from the street.
Total overhaul your roof
Finally, you can opt for a total overhaul of your roof with an entirely new solar roof replacing your old one for maximum efficiency and coverage.
How Many Solar Tiles You Require?
How many tiles you require and how large space they will take up will depend entirely on how much power you need them to generate for you on a regular basis. Solar power, in general, has been proven to be an efficient form of alternative power generation, especially given that any surplus electricity that is produced during sunnier periods can be stored for future use when conditions are less conducive to efficient energy conversion, such as during poor weather or at night.
How much does a solar roof tile cost?
While the concept is still in its infancy there are a number of solar roof tiles manufacturers in the UK and elsewhere selling variants of the new technology to suits householders and business owners alike. Costs vary depending on the size of the roof in question type of tiles chosen and complexity of the installation. Additional features, such as tempered glass, invisible solar cells and bespoke designs will increase costs, however reputable companies offer a lifetime’s manufacturer’s guarantee and instructions on how to maintain your new solar roof tiles to help reduce unexpected costs further down the line.
There may also be grants for solar roof tiles available in selected areas of the country – information about this can be found on the internet for those interested in finding out more. The main consideration with this type of technology is that they cannot be integrated into an existing roof set-up without carrying out some structural changes to the existing tiles. The tiles are best suited for new build projects, or as a roof replacement or upgrade instead. Speak to a solar panel expert for further information and advice on solar tiles.