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Why your solar panels provide an average of 6 percent less than expected

Your solar panels deliver on average up to 6 percent less than the manufacturer promises, a researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology has found out. They compared 256 ‘identical residential PV systems’ in 19 locations across the Netherlands. This showed that the simulation models are a bit too optimistic.

The actual efficiency of a solar panel system in a Dutch residential area is therefore 6 percent lower, according to the research. In theory, this saves hundreds of euros per year and the payback period will also remain more or less the same. But it struck anyway.

The researcher looked at a variety of factors that can influence the production of solar panel systems, namely ‘location, orientation of the sun, seasonal variations, clear sky and setting’. TU/e will not go into more detail about this.

The problem would be masking also known as horizon shadow. According to the researchers, the influence of light blocking is underestimated in an average residential area in the Netherlands. “Even in the suburbs, where there is not much height, blocking diffuse radiation from the sky can significantly reduce PV efficiency.” A solar panel not only captures direct light, but also indirect light (reflective or diffused). And this appears to stand in the way of an average residential area.

On the left satellite image of a neighborhood in Eindhoven, on the right a 3D model of the same neighborhood drawn with Lidar technology. The masking effect is clearly visible; Even if the roof is exposed to the sun, part of the indirect light can still be blocked

Bron: YOU/E

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