How To: Make the Most of Your Solar Panels
How To: Make the Most of Your Solar Panels


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How To: Make the Most of Your Solar Panels

SEPTEMBER 22, 2020 

Your shiny new solar panels have just been installed and you’re already generating your own free, clean electricity. Things are off to a great start, but you’re wondering how you can make sure you’re gaining the greatest possible benefits from your new renewable energy system. Well look no further. We’ve compiled our top tips on how to ensure your solar panels are operating at maximum efficiency and bringing you maximum savings…

First up – what actually is efficiency?

Efficiency = how much of the energy that a panel absorbs (light energy from the sun) is converted into useful energy (electricity). It’s written as a percentage (%). For example, a solar panel that is 50% efficient will convert half of the sunlight it absorbs into electricity.


Different types of solar panels have different efficiency ratings, which depend on the materials they are made from. Things such as the angle and direction of your roof will also affect efficiency. Your dedicated Project Manager will ensure all of these factors are carefully assessed before designing your solar panel system.

So how can I increase the efficiency of my panels?

In other words, how can I make sure my panels are generating as much electricity as they possibly can? 

Keep them clean and tidy.

Your solar panels will absorb more sunlight if they are free from dirt, dust and debris. Most panels in the UK have the advantage of being naturally cleaned by rainfall but you should give them a proper once-over a couple of times a year too. You can do this with wipes, hot soapy water or even just a good spray with the hose. If you prefer, cleaning can be out-sourced to local company for about £25-30.

Watch out for shading.

If your panels are in the shade, they will absorb less sunlight. Keep an eye on any new plants growing nearby and remove them if they start casting shadows over your panels.

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How can I ensure maximum savings?

Now you’ve got your panels producing as much electricity as possible, you want to make sure you’re using as much of that electricity as possible. Remember, the more (free) solar electricity you use, the less electricity you have to buy from the grid!

Timing is everything.

Solar panels produce the most electricity when it’s light outside. So do energy-intensive activities during the day, to avoid having to pay for grid electricity at night. This includes things like running your washing machine and charging up electronic devices.

Be smart about energy usage.

Follow @cactus__energy on Instagram for simple tips on how to save energy in your daily life!

Invest in energy storage.

Fitting a battery to your solar panel system enables you to store the energy you generate during the day for later use. As well as maximising the amount of solar electricity you can use, battery systems provide greater flexibility and energy security.

Integrate other renewable technology.

This is where it gets really clever. Linking your solar panels to other clean power products maximises usable energy output and savings. For example, hooking your panels up to an electric vehicle chargepoint means free, zero-emission fuel for your car!

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Insulate your property.

If you are using your solar-generated electricity to power an electric heating system, make sure you have efficient insulation fitted. This will reduce the amount of heat that escapes from your building. Less heat loss = less electricity needed for heating = less likely to have to buy electricity from the grid.