What is the efficiency factor?

What is the efficiency factor?

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Calculating your efficiency factor

While the term 'factor' may be confusing, let us walk you through the basics and delve into the estimate calculations for better understanding.
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What is efficiency factor? How do I estimate my efficiency factor? Is it the same as loss factor?

Let's get back to the basics of what the efficiency factor does.

First a little review on percentages. A percentage is represented by 0 - 100%, which is well known. However what is less commonly understood is that mathematics uses decimal places to represent percentages in math formulae. So, when you use the efficiency factor in any API requests, you'll need to use a value from 0.01 (1%) to 1.0 (100%). For example, 85% efficient would be a value of 0.85. 70% efficient would be a value of 0.70.

Now, onto what it means and how to estimate your efficiency factor.

How to estimate your efficiency factor in Solcast API

The Solcast API uses the efficiency factor to account for all non-temperature driven losses in the PV system. This includes wiring losses, degradation and soiling (dust/dirt on panels).

It is generally difficult to estimate an efficiency factor without comparing your observed data versus that produced by our API. We suggest you use the efficiency factor to adjust the API data until it closely matches the energy generation or power output from your own solar PV system (paying attention to the magnitude of power output estimates across the day).

However, if you need a place to start, we recommend you apply a 0.5% to 2.0% reduction in the efficiency factor for each year that has passed since your solar panel was installed.

Let’s take a look at this sample:

If you have a 4 year old PV system, and want to assume a 2.0% loss per year, you would use an efficiency factor of 0.92. How did I get this value?

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Sample computation Start with 100% (1.0) and subtract 8% (4 years x 2% per year). You’ll get 92%, which is an efficiency factor of 0.92.

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Hobbyist: When setting up or updating your Home PV System, please enter your Efficiency factor as a percentage. Using the example above, if your efficiency factor is 92%, you would enter 92 as your Efficiency factor.