Solar Nerd articles about: Specifications

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Illustration of two thermometers
Solar panel temperature coefficient explained
If you’ve ever looked at the product sheet for a solar panel, you may have been confronted by tables of cryptic numbers and electrical terminology. Unless you’re an electrician or electrical engineer, you’ll probably find these a little bewildering. Fortunately, the average consumer can ignore most of them. Unless you’re an installer or hobbyist, many of the numbers are electrical specs that won’t matter to you. One exception, however, is power temperature coefficient.
Example of what inverter clipping looks like.
What are inverter clipping losses in a solar array?
If you’re a more detail-oriented (or perhaps nerdy) person, you might spend a lot of time studying the technical specifications of your home solar system. Maybe you want to better understand a system you already own, or you’re comparing quotes from installers and trying to make the best choice. Once you get beyond the basics like the system output and inverter type, one of the concepts you might encounter is called inverter clipping, which is closely related to the DC/AC ratio of the system.
Photo of ground mounted solar panels
Why are my solar panels producing less than the rated power?
If you own a home solar panel system, you might find that your system isn’t generating as much electricity as you think it should. Or perhaps you’ve got panel-level monitoring and can see that one or more panels are generating less power than the others. Before you call your installer for service, here are some reasons why your system might be having trouble. In this article: There are different reasons why your solar array will produce less energy than their theoretical maximum.
Photo of hailstones.
Can solar panels withstand hail?
Did you know that the record for a hailstone in the United States is 8 inches? According to CNN, a giant hailstone discovered in South Dakota was the size of a volleyball and weighed almost two pounds. Yikes! If an 8 inch hailstone hit your solar array, there definitely would be damage. Luckily, hail like this is extremely rare. But what about more ordinary hail? Solar panels are designed and tested to withstand hail that is rated up to “severe” by the US National Weather Service, which is hail up to one inch in size or with wind gusts up to 58 mph.
Photo of solar panels.
What is the standard size of a solar panel?
If you’re thinking about covering your house or garage with solar panels, or even building a solar pergola, you’ll want to know something about solar panel sizes. I’ll get to that, but first let’s clarify what we mean by size. It could mean a couple of things: The physical dimensions of the panel, or The power output of the panel in watts To address the first point, solar panels for large scale power generation - meaning, larger than a DIY project like a camping setup - come in two general sizes: residential and commercial.