Factors Affecting System Efficiency

As far as the weather conditions are convenient and unless it’s extremely hot, the photovoltaic systems of the solar carports are expected to be running well while maintaining its efficiency and power output for at least 15-20 years. However, below factors are needed to be considered when making a decision to invest in a solar carport or not.

Weather Conditions & Temperature

The temperature of a solar panel can alter the system efficiency and cause losses on the power output. These losses of output are reflected through the temperature coefficient, which is a measure of the panel’s decrease in power output for every 1°C rise over 25°C (77°F). Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels have a temperature coefficient between -0.3% / °C to -0.5% / °C, while thin-film panels are closer to -0.2% / °C.

To a certain extent, PV systems may generate 10-20% less power under cloudy weather conditions than sunny weather conditions. Also, the PV system’s efficiency significantly decreases as temperature rises. High temperatures can cause a decrease in the voltage output of the panels, reducing overall system efficiency. However, some modern panels are designed to mitigate this effect.

Panel Type and Cell Technology

The quality and technology of the solar panels themselves influence system efficiency. Higher-quality panels with advanced technologies, such as monocrystalline or PERC panels, typically have higher system efficiency ratings compared to cheaper or older technologies.

Inverter Efficiency

The efficiency of the inverter, which converts DC electricity generated by the solar panels into AC electricity for use in buildings or connection to the grid, also affects overall system efficiency. Higher efficiency inverters minimize energy losses during the conversion process.

Angle and Orientation

The angle at which solar panels are installed relative to the sun's position and their orientation towards the sun play a significant role in efficiency. Panels angled towards the sun and facing south (in the northern hemisphere) generally capture more sunlight and thus operate more efficiently.