PV racking systems for solar panels are more than an efficient means of installing solar energy panels—they can even improve the total amount of energy produced.
PV racking structures are essential for efficient solar panel installation, present in more than 85 percent of all commercial solar panel installations as of 2012. While there are several types and styles of solar racks each suited best to different environmental conditions, all solar racking units share the ability to improve total energy output due to their unique structure.
How Solar Racks Harness More Energy
Sunlight essentially has two components: the direct beam and diffused light. The direct beam portion of sunlight carries 90 percent of the solar energy transmitted to Earth. In order to harness the direct beam portion of sunlight, panels need as much exposure to the sun as possible throughout the day.
The design of your solar racking system directly affects the output based on a number of factors. Below are 3 design factors to take into consideration to maximize your outputs:
- Tilt Angle – Most fixed tilt ground racks come in a few different standard tilt angles. These standard tilt angles can give you favorable outputs but to truly get the maximum optimization you need a racking system that can be customized to the optimum sun angle for the project location. This will ensure your maximum output of your solar panels. A racking system that can be designed to a 37.5 degree tilt versus those that are standard to only 35 degree will give you a better output throughout the day. This will also allow for the minimum row shading on the jobsite enabling you to maximize the amount of panels in the given area.
- Ground Clearance – It is important to understand the project location site conditions when deciding on how high or low your solar racking system should be off the ground. These factors will impact your overall system outputs. In areas of high snow a racking system that can be customized to be raised off the ground to your desired clearance is a major design advantage. Otherwise your panels can get covered in snow not only from the snow fall from the sky but also from the piling up of snow that can accumulate on the ground. Knowing the correct ground clearance will not only prevent your modules from getting covered in snow but it will also allow you to use the reflection of the sun off the snow accumulation to generate greater outputs for your solar panels.
- Array configurations – Custom configurations are essential to maximizing the output on the jobsite. Being able to accommodate multiple string sizes and voltage requirements are necessary customizations that a racking supplier needs to take into consideration. Both landscape and portrait orientations have their advantages and disadvantages depending on your jobsite. It is important to find a racking supplier that can offer both designs in multiple configurations to assure you are using the best option to keep your output maximized and your overall project costs low.