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How to manage your solar power system for every season in Johannesburg

March 13, 2024

We sat down with a few solar experts to discuss the importance of managing and maintaining solar power systems throughout the different seasons in Johannesburg.

Solar power systems and their components are susceptible to temperature fluctuations and weather conditions. Considering Johannesburg's hot summers and sometimes heavy rainfall and hail, it is essential to take preventative measures to protect your solar power system and maintain its performance.

How do I prepare my solar panels for winter in Johannesburg?

As we all know, Johannesburg winters experience fewer hours of sunlight during the day, so you must do everything possible to optimise your solar power system during this season.

Ensure that your solar panels are cleaned before the winter starts to remove any dust that may have accumulated during the previous season. Dust and dirt can cover solar panels, causing them to absorb less sunlight.

During winter, removing any obstructions or trees that may block sunlight from reaching your solar panels is vital. Even minimal shading can significantly decrease solar panel performance.

In Johannesburg, the sun's angle is lower during winter, so if your solar panels are adjustable, consider adjusting them at an angle where they can absorb more sunlight during these short days.

What maintenance tasks should I consider for my solar system during the rainy season in Johannesburg?

Winter in Johannesburg can significantly decrease the performance of your solar power system, which is why it is essential to maintain and manage your solar panels correctly.

Water leaks can cause problems if there is loose wiring, which could damage your entire solar system. Ensure all water leaks and gaps allowing water to seep in are repaired and sealed.

Rainwater leaves dust residue behind, which could impact your solar panel's performance. Ensure that your solar panels are free from any dust or leaves from rain and wind. Additionally, rainwater can cause corrosion on the metal parts of your solar system. Components such as mounting hardware and electrical connections risk possible damage, so always inspect for corrosion damage and replace corroded equipment.

How can I optimise my solar system during the hot summers in Johannesburg?

Shading devices such as pergolas and awnings protect solar panels against high temperatures and prevent damage. This goes hand in hand with ensuring proper ventilation for solar panels. Proper airflow around the solar panels should prevent overheating during summer.

To increase sunlight exposure and absorption during sunny seasons, consider adjusting the orientation of your solar panels to face the sunlight at a more direct angle. Monitor your solar system's performance during summer to see if there is any damage due to the high temperatures. Maintain your solar system by cleaning solar panels and inspecting the system for any damage.

What should I do to protect my solar panels during hail storms in Johannesburg?

Here are a few tips on how you can protect your solar panels against hail storms in Johannesburg:

Protective barriers: Install hail guards or mesh screens to absorb the impact of hail on your solar panels. This will prevent damage such as cracks and scratches.

Hail-resistant panels: Certain solar panels are designed to withstand hail. They are made with durable materials and have undergone testing to ensure they are strong enough to withstand the impact of hail.

Monitor weather forecasts: Stay current with weather forecasts to prepare for storms that may damage your solar panels. You can take preventative measures, such as covering your solar panels with tarps or blankets.

Inspect solar panels after heavy storms: You should always inspect your solar panels for damages after heavy rainfall or hail and repair possible damages promptly to prevent the issue from worsening during the following storms.

How do I adjust my solar system for the longer summer days in Johannesburg?

Adjust your solar panels accordingly for the longer days of summer in Johannesburg:

Adjust the tilt angle: You can optimise sunlight intake and improve energy production by slightly aligning the angle of your solar panels with the sun's position in the sky during summer.

Adjust solar panels orientation: The sun reaches its highest point in the sky during summer in Johannesburg. Consider adjusting the orientation of your solar panels to face north or northwest so that your solar panels can absorb maximum sunlight during the longer summer days.

Monitor shading: Check for obstructions or shading that may affect sunlight reaching your solar panels. Trim any surrounding trees to ensure your solar panels receive and absorb optimal sunlight throughout the day.

Monitor system performance: High temperatures can decrease performance, so if there are noticeable changes in energy production and performance, take measures to protect your solar panels from the heat while allowing them to absorb as much sunlight as possible.

Are there any specific precautions needed for my solar system during the dry season in Johannesburg?

Again, cleaning your solar panels regularly throughout the different seasons is essential. Dry seasons bring large amounts of dust that can collect on your solar panels and reduce efficiency. Additionally, keep a close eye on your system's energy production, as dust can affect system output.

Wildfires are common during dry seasons, so ensure that your solar panels and surrounding areas are checked for fire risks and that preventative measures are taken. Another factor to consider is maintaining and monitoring the performance of your battery and overall solar system during hot and dry seasons and taking measures to prevent overheating.

What battery maintenance is necessary for my solar system throughout the year in Johannesburg?

The following factors are essential to maintain your battery and solar system throughout the year:

Assessing electrolyte levels: If you use flood acid-lead batteries, monitoring their electrolyte levels and adding distilled water if necessary is essential to maintaining and extending their lifespan.

Clean terminals and connections: The terminals and cable connections should undergo regular cleaning to remove any buildup or corrosion affecting conductivity. Clean the terminal and connections using a terminal cleaner or wire brush.

Temperature management: Solar batteries are susceptible to temperature changes, so storing and operating them in the recommended temperature range is crucial.

Regular inspections: Schedule professional inspections to check for swelling on the battery casing, which could mean internal damage to the battery. Visual inspections are essential to assess your batteries for any signs of corrosion, leakages, or other types of damage.

How can I monitor and follow the performance of my solar system in Johannesburg?

Specific solar monitoring systems offer convenient mobile apps that allow you to monitor your solar system remotely. These apps provide real-time data and results, allowing you to stay well-informed about your solar system's performance no matter where you are.

Many manufacturers provide online monitoring portals that display essential data such as system status and historical performance. These portals offer performance tracking and real-time data about your system. Additionally, most inverters have a built-in display screen showing metrics such as energy production and voltage.

Installing an energy meter can help you determine how much energy your system produces and consumes. This allows you to optimise your system accordingly and identify any trends in your consumption patterns.

Thank You, Solar Power Experts

Johannesburg's climate is perfect for solar power systems to function optimally. However, certain weather conditions with the different seasons in Johannesburg can significantly impact and damage your solar power system. Ensure that you take the necessary measures to protect, maintain and optimise your solar power system through the varying seasons. Get in touch with us today to learn more about solar power systems

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