Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Solar panels absorb sunlight as a source of energy to generate direct current electricity which, with the help of an inverter is converted to alternating current for use in appliances. They depend on sunlight to be able to produce the electricity that appliances can run on.
The first guess about about solar panels is that they are to be mounted on the roof. And this is always true for the very reason that the positioning of the solar panels determines the amount of solar energy that the panels can absorb. In Nigeria, being outside the equator, and in the tropics, the part of the earth that receives the most sunlight, due to the high amount of sunlight, this may be taken for granted at least by those without any technical knowledge of how solar panels work. But because most solar panel installations are fixed at dangerous heights, their orientation is important since it is important not only for their performance but also to not have to adjust them from time to time.
There are the two major things that SolarKobo technicians and engineers consider when mounting solar panels for our customers.
1. They Try to Avoid Shading.
A solar cell’s voltage will drop to its half value if it is shaded and if majority of the cells are covered, the panel will not produce any energy. All the cells are connected in series, that is, directly, or end-to-end. This means that if one cell shaded partially will have its output voltage drop by half, the output of the entire module will also drop by half.
They make sure surrounding trees, buildings, walls, other panels, etc. do not cast a shadow on the panels at any time of the day or year.
2. They Tilt the Panels.
Again, because the amount of sunlight in Nigeria is relatively far much higher than in the countries where these panels are manufactured, this is also taken for granted. But technicians actually tilt solar panels, either against the roof or on the rails in which they are placed. As solar panels are most efficient when they are perpendicular to the sun’s rays, since the sun shines at an angle to the earth's surface (unlike the rains which fall vertically) they tend to tilt the panels to degrees ranging from 28–30 degrees to optimize efficiency.
Also, solar panels are titled for the rains to be able to flow off them and in the process help to wash off any accumulated dirt.
In Nigeria, particularly, because most solar panels are mounted on roofs, which are already tilted by architectural design, in those cases, technicians do not have to bother about titling them again. In countries where there is less sunlight at different times of the year, the positioning of solar panels has to be changed at least twice a year, first at winter and second at summer time.