Solar PV panel systems in a field for commercial applications
Solar PV panel systems for commercial and industrial applications

Factors That Impact Solar Panel Efficiency

Residential and commercial solar panel installations can generate considerable amounts of clean, renewable energy. However, as with all energy production, some factors can increase and decrease the efficiency of your system. While some factors, such as weather and cloud cover, can’t be controlled, many others, including positioning and foliage cover, can be managed. At Solera Energy, our solar specialists can help you maximize the efficiency of the solar power systems you depend on.

The roof of a solar powered home

Factors Affecting Your Solar Panel Efficiency


In the Northern Hemisphere, solar panels should be positioned to be south-facing. This ensures they receive the most sunlight per day. They must be positioned so they are pointed to the true south, which is slightly 9° east of the magnetic south. 


The tilt angle is the angle at which the solar panels are tilted. This varies based on the latitude of your location. For example, in St. Louis, the most efficient angle is 32.5 degrees, while in Little Rock, it’s 29.5 degrees. 

Amount of shade

Shade from trees, shrubbery, and other buildings can diminish the efficiency of your solar power system. For this reason, you will want to position your solar panels in a location where the shade from these obstructions doesn’t overlap with the installation site.  


Solar panels become less efficient when high temperatures are present. While high heat causes the output current to increase, it causes the voltage output to decrease. Fortunately, solar panels will continue to generate electricity up to around 180 degrees F, so there’s no real-world situation in which solar energy generation from your system will completely stop. 

Similarly, solar panels will operate less efficiently in cold temperatures; however, because most systems are designed to operate in temperatures of up to minus 22 degrees F, cold temperatures rarely cause energy generation to cease. 

Climate and Other Conditions

Solar panels installed in areas where dust storms and heavy snowfall are common can generate less electricity than comparable systems in regions unaffected by these conditions. As a rule, any snow, dust, ice, or other debris that covers the solar panel will diminish energy production.

What You Can Do To Increase Solar Panel Efficiency

While you can’t change the rules of science or geography, you can take a wide range of actions that will preserve the efficiency of your solar-powered system. Simple steps are all it takes to keep your system in good condition to generate the maximum energy for your needs. These steps include:

  • Keep panels clean and clear of debris: At a minimum, you will want to clean them every six months. You should increase this frequency if dust storms or heavy snowfall occur.
  • Trim vegetation and foliage: Keep trees well-trimmed and shrubbery properly pruned. This will also help protect your system from falling branches that can damage your system.
  • Inspect for damage: You should perform monthly inspections to ensure your panels and other components are not damaged by debris, rodents, birds, corrosion, etc.
  • Monitor performance: Closely monitor your system for performance issues throughout the year. The more data you review, the better you will understand how various factors influence your system’s energy production.

When To Call a Professional

Regular maintenance and professional inspections are a fantastic way to keep your solar panels in prime condition. Each system is different, and you will want to check the specifics of your system. Fall and spring are the ideal times for maintenance, but the reality is that any month of the year is a good time to get caught up or to schedule an appointment when diminished efficiency or other issues are suspected.

Depend On Solera To Service Your Solar-Power Systems

At Solera Energy, our licensed and insured solar specialists will help improve the efficiency and extend the serviceable lifespan of your solar panels. Our attention to detail and our passion for solar energy ensure your system will deliver the energy-efficient performance you deserve!  

When your solar panels require service in Missouri or NW Arkansas, reach out to the team at Solera Energy by calling (866) 346-2009 or contact us online to schedule a service appointment.

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