Solar panels depend on sunlight as their only source of energy for electricity generation.
When mounting solar panels, we 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. The reason is because 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.
During the harmattan season in Nigeria, especially for those who live around busy untarred roads or other places where dust is constantly being raised by human activities, construction works, or in wintry places where the winds are always busy, there will be concerns about the solar panels being shaded by layers of dust. While the rains and winds always helps to wash off the dust, the efficiency of solar panels in periods of no rain and reduced wind, will drop significantly.
Without knowing that this is significant reason for the drop in the production of their solar panels, our clients often call to report that their batteries have failed. Before attending to other components, we first clean the panels. In most cases, this alone restores their performance to optimum.
A variation of this problem occurs during the rainy season. During the rains, the days are often cloudy. This also causes the performance of the panels to drop significantly. Our engineers often respond to complaints at this time by advising our clients to expect the drop in the performance of their panels with a drop in the amount of sunlight. And to look to grid power for charging their systems.
In either case, Solarkobo provides operations and maintenance services for its clients in Lagos and throughout Nigeria.