Wednesday, 10 February 2010

NASA Mars Rover proves why Solar Panel orientation is important

One of the most important questions you'll be asked when you're discussing a solar panel installation on your home with the installation company (or even before that when you're getting your title="online solar panel quotes">solar panel quote), is in which direction does your roof point?

To make the most of what a solar panel can offer in terms of its output, the panel/s need to be in full sunshine for as long as possible. Overhanging trees and neighbouring tall buildings can shade a panel to much, to make it effective.

If shading is a problem, you're installation company may be able to offer an alternative panel design which incorporates single cells -if one cell is shaded, the others still continue to work etc.

Shading isn't just restricted to trees and buildings 'overhanging'. Accumulations of dirt, fallen leaves etc will also reduce your solar panels efficiency - read our previous post on solar panel maintenance.

Even high-tech space probes can fall foul of the all important orientation to the Sun as NASA announced last week they'd finally given up trying to free the Mars Spirit rover from it's 'sand bunker' and have conceded that, although as a stationary scientific station, it will still continue to function, because of it's position, it's own solar arrays won't collect enough Sun to power it until the Martian Summer arrives.

You can read more about the Mars Spirit mission here.

photo credit: chadica

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