Are Your Solar Panels Not Producing Their Rated Watts?

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I can understand the disappointment. You make a significant investment in solar and it doesn’t perform as you expected. Truth is, panels spend little, if any, time over the year producing at their rated power.

They are not broken, this is normal.

Twice a year (if you are lucky) your panels may have an opportunity to produce at their rated power. This will be when the array is at a right angle to the rays as the sun reaches its highest in the sky. Now if (and only if) this takes place close to the first day of summer, the temperature is 77 deg F or less, the panels are brand new, and the sky crystal clear will they possibly produce at their rated wattage.

Phoenix 77 deg F at noon in late June, are you kidding me?! Hence one of the problems.

Panels are rated under perfect, consistent conditions inside a laboratory. This is so every manufacturer and model of panel can be fairly compared.  These conditions rarely occur at your property.

Solar panel power production can be affected by many different things. The direction the panel faces is very important, with south being preferred. The tilt of a panel is best when it is equals its location’s latitude.

For example, Phoenix is located at a latitude of 33 degrees. Tilting the panels at 33 degrees off the horizon would produce the most power over the year. However, panels at this tilt would not produce their rated power when the summer sun is only 10 degrees from directly overhead!

Tracking equipment is available to keep the solar panels facing the sun, but it’s too costly to be economic.

A solar system is designed with focus on the lowest investment and highest annual power production. Having panels produce at their rated power is not part of the equation. And yes, I realize how odd that must sound.

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