I have ten PV200 panels & on a cloudless sunny day they’ll output a peak of about 1.5kw. But every once in awhile they’ll output 2.2kw. That’s a big difference. I’ve been moving the panels around trying to find the ideal alignment, but nothing increases it above 1.5kw. Then suddenly one day it shoots up to 2.2kw. I finally discovered what does it. A mostly cloudy day, where clouds make up about 70% of the sky, but where there’s s break in the clouds so the full sunshine hits the panels, but the sunlight must be bouncing off the clouds & adding to the illumination that’s hitting the panels. Anyone familiar with this effect? It’s making me think that maybe adding pure white translucent panels over the top, or possibly at the sides, of my panels may increase their output. Any thoughts on what would be the best way to take advantage of this effect?
People have noticed what’s called a “lensing effect” where the sun is on the edge of a cloud and causes more iradiance to hit your solar panels.
I can’t imagine putting anything in the way of full sunshine will help increase power. Some new panels have a way of capturing extra sunlight that passes through the panels, bouncing back to hit the cells. Something like that.
What I use to capture more sun is a poor man’s tracking setup. My panels are on a kind of tilted “see-saw” where I can tilt the array east-west. One end of the main pole is on the ground, and the other end is attached to a vertical pole, about 6’ high. The array see-saws around this axis, and I can also adjust for the seasonal difference in sun angle by raising/lower either end. On windy days I simply point the panels straight up so the wind hits them on the edge frames; very little wind resistance there.
I’ve toyed with the idea of adding an antenna rotator, but after reading reviews the cheaper ones are pretty flimsy and don’t last long. You need the more professional versions to hold up to windy conditions.
Lens effect, huh? Makes some sense, but 700 more kw? Well, I like experimenting & think I’m going to try some different things. My son, who makes prototypes for university professors at his job, wants to build a tracker for me. I’ve got 6 panels ready, expecting my new MC4 cables later today, & we’re going to start on it sometime soon. I have a 2nd AC300 & 4 batteries ready for phase 2 of my solar project. My utility company has noticed that my electrical use has dropped a lot & they’re sending me emails about it. I would love to go fully off-grid.
So here in California the utility company wants to be able to charge owners of solar panels to pay an extra charge to reimburse them for lost profit. Can you believe that? I don’t know it that’s been approved yet. Utilities in other states, like Hawaii, already do that. Anyone know if that only applies to homes that feed their solar power back into the grid, or if it applies to everyone with solar?
I have also noticed this effect from a certain cloud cover (I don’t believe it is a lensing effect).
Covering the panels wouldn’t do the same thing – the reason being that you get more power, because more of the sky becomes effectively a “sun” since the clouds reflect from across the sky, vs a point-source-sun on a clear day that only illuminates from one spot. So, there’s more overall power – as long as the clouds are exactly right, and the amount you loose is small compared with the additional light you gain.