Is there any advantage to covering Solar Panels when Power is not needed for an extended Period ?

solar_truckersolar_trucker Registered Users Posts: 3
The system charges a lithium ion LiFePo4 battery...If there is no need to charge every day for a month or two
due to all the drain devices are shut off, does it make sense to cover the panels? Would that increase the panels
life span?  The battery can sit for a considerable extended period without having a charge applied I guess as long
as it was left in a fully charged state.


  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,854 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2017 #2
    Given the life expectancy of the panels is probably >20 years, the advantages of covering the panels may be in direct proportion to the length of time they are covered, merely speculation, granted the batteries can sit for periods without changing, from my understanding LiPo4 are better not to be on a consistent charge when not cycled, so the question may be, is it better to cover the panels to preserve the battery. Alternatively simply disconnect the charging source and absorb the loss in life expectancy, of the panels , which is probably minimal.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Battery Bodyguard BMS 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Daly BMS, used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • pdhpdh Registered Users Posts: 30 ✭✭
    I've heard that in general, LiPo batteries should be partially discharged before being stored for a long time. I know that's true for the small ones (not LiFePo4's) because I've got a few drone batteries that are almost useless after being stored for 9 months while fully charged. Do LiFePo4's behave the same way?
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,495 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd be more concerned about shortening panel lifespan by long-term coverage, from tarps getting a bit loose and flogging, critters finding a cosy home, etc.
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • solar_truckersolar_trucker Registered Users Posts: 3
    Thanks from all of you who have replied. I was somewhat thinking the same about not bothering
    to try and cover the panels...It's sort of an issue with diminishing returns...The panels are mono crystalline
    and were made post 2010 so there's a good chance they will survive a good long life whether I cover them
    up or not. Consider the fact I'm mid-60's, they should last me my RV'ing days!
    On the storage of the Lithium battery, IF I store it for a prolonged period, I'll make sure it's not fully charged.
  • NANOcontrolNANOcontrol Registered Users Posts: 203 ✭✭✭
    I bring my panels in each year.  They sit under a tree and it is just to chancy in winter. I only got a couple years left in doing that. Grid tie panels are getting heavy.  If my neighbors each would just cut down a tree I could mount them on the garage.
Sign In or Register to comment.