Does Living in High Altitude Affect Solar Panels?

In the past, you typically only saw solar panels in low-lying areas because installing the panels in high-altitude regions was not practical or cost effective. Now the technology has advanced, and it is possible to install and use solar panels in higher locations. If you live or own a business in a high-altitude area and have been wondering, “Should I contact solar installers near me?” here are some reasons why you should consider it.

Reduced Dust and Pollution

Every day, Earth receives an unthinkable amount of energy from the sun in the form of solar radiation. Until the early- to mid-20th century, there was no way to convert that energy into a form that was usable. Solar power Virginia is possible because of photovoltaic cells that collect energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.

Dust, dirt, soot, and other contaminants can collect on the photovoltaic cells of a solar panel. They can disrupt the flow of the energy and negatively affect the efficiency at which the solar panel operates. At higher elevations, there is less pollution in the air. Therefore, there is less chance of the solar panels collecting dirt and dust, allowing them to work more efficiently.

Weather and Temperature

At higher elevations, there is less air pressure. The air contains fewer molecules. The friction of air molecules coming in contact with one another produces heat. Because there are fewer molecules at higher elevations, the temperature tends to be cooler compared to lower elevations.

Heat affects how efficiently photovoltaic cells work at converting radiation from the sun into electricity. The benchmark is 25 degrees Celsius, or 77 degrees Fahrenheit. For every degree above that benchmark that the temperature rises, the power loss from the solar panels is approximately 0.5%. Therefore, for optimal efficiency, solar panel installation Charlotte NC makes more sense than installation in a low-lying area that routinely sees temperatures in excess of 90 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Extreme weather conditions can damage solar panels or affect the efficiency at which they operate. Hail can shatter the glass of a solar panel, while snow piled up on it can prevent sunlight from reaching it. Weather conditions can be more moderate at higher elevations, which helps solar panels work more efficiently.

Increased Sun Exposure

According to research, solar energy harvesting is more efficient at higher elevations than at sea level. Part of the reason is that, at higher altitudes, the sun’s radiation strikes the panels at an angle that contributes to higher efficiency.

At higher altitudes, solar panels also receive a greater amount of solar energy because there are fewer molecules and particles in the air to disperse it. There also tend to be fewer clouds at higher altitudes. Clouds do not prevent solar panels from receiving solar energy, but they do make the collection process less efficient.

While there are still challenges involved in installing solar panels at higher altitudes, the potential benefits make it worth overcoming them. Contact solar installers in your area and start saving on your energy costs today.

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