Why Panels with the Same Rating Can Produce Different Levels of Energy
Solar panels are tested under ideal conditions—perfect temperatures, no shade exposure, etc.—in order to determine their rating (how much kilowatt-hours of energy per watt of power capacity a panel can produce).
However, panels that have the same rating can produce different levels of energy over a given period of time: in real life, your panels are exposed to less-than-ideal situations like shade from passing clouds, nearby branches or maybe your TV satellite.
In a typical panel, when a part of it is shaded, the whole panel’s production drops. This is because a solar panel’s cells are linked together and connected over the whole panel. When part of the panel is shaded, the entire model can only produce as much energy as what’s being brought in by the shaded part.
But some panels deal with shade better than others.
The Split Solar Module
A new technology and cell structure exists; it improves performance in shaded conditions and has been proven to outperform other panels: the split solar module.
Split solar modules take regular 6”x6” cells of standard modules and cut them in half, allowing for a different electrical behavioral pattern.
In a standard module, the cells strings are connected over the whole panel. If a quarter of the panel is affected by shade, the entire module can only produce as much as the energy being brought in by the shaded part.
In a split module, the cells are split in two so that there are six internal string cells. This means that if half of the panel is affected by shade, the other half can still work optimally.
Some Like it Hot… But Solar Panels Don’t!
Excessive heat also has a significantly negative effect on power production from solar panels. With traditional panels, heat accumulates around the junction box on the back of a solar panel. This extra heat doesn’t harm your panels, but it does reduce power production.
Split solar modules resolve this additional challenge with a split junction box. The backs of these panels have a three sub part junction box spread around the back of the panel, ensuring proper heat dissipation and optimal panel performance.
This is especially important for Floridians, since our temperatures can exceed to well over 90F⁰. With that kind of climate, any heat dissipation can be tremendously beneficial for a solar system’s production!
Same Rating ≠ Same Production
Since panels are tested in ideal laboratory conditions for their max production rating, this rating only tells half the story. Two panels with the same rating should produce almost identical amounts of power when there’s no shading and outdoor temperatures are very cold. But as soon as a cloud passes over, a split panel will outperform a similarly-rated standard panel. Also, we live in the sunshine state where temperatures over 80F⁰ are all too common. For us Floridians, heat dissipation measures can have a tremendous impact on the solar system’s production.
At the end of the day, you don’t install solar systems for the rating on their labels; we install them for the free electricity they’ll provide. What matters to homeowners is how much energy the system will produce; how much money can we stop throwing into the utility’s black hole of lifelong bills. Choosing the right panel is just one of the many important parameters in designing and installing a highly effective solar system.
Choosing the Right Panels for You
As the oldest and largest residential solar company in Central Florida, Superior Solar has over 33 years of experience in the solar industry. Our team of educated designers and engineers continuously seek out and evaluate new solar technologies to design the most reliable and effective installations. This leads to very happy clients, which is why our #1 source of leads is referrals.
Split solar modules are just one of our many products and we’ll help you choose the right panel for your home. No matter what, we work hard to ensure your solar system is highly effective and suited to your home’s needs.
If you’re interested to learn more about the hyper-effective split solar panels or are ready to eliminate your power bill and put money back into your pocket, please contact us at 407.331.9077.