A solar panel system can be a large investment, and if you live in an area where winters are cold, days are short and cloudy, you may wonder whether a system will produce enough energy to save you the money that everyone talks about.
Many people believe that solar panels only work in warm climates or in the hot summer months. However, solar panels can generate solar energy and as a result, save you money in winter too.
Let us demonstrate how a solar system works so you can understand how solar panels can perform just as well in cold climates and winter weather as they do in summer.
While many people believe that solar panels are only functional when the sun is shining on them, some people may not realize that solar panels are capable of storing energy for later use. This means that you are able to make use of a solar panel’s accumulated energy even during the nighttime. However, it is important to make sure that your panels have an opportunity to gather more energy whenever possible. This can be accomplished by minimizing obstructions as well as cleaning any debris that may have accumulated on the solar panels.
Summer vs Winter
Solar energy harnesses the sun’s energy and turns it into energy we use in the home. It creates DC electricity which then goes through an inverter and changes to AC electricity.
Yes, you are correct in that the energy production is slightly lower in the winter than in the summer months. However, this difference is not as wide a range as you might think.
Contrary to what most people think, solar panels do not rely on heat to produce electricity. In reality, colder temperatures improve the performance of solar cell productions. The cells only need sunlight to produce electricity and that can even be the sunlight that filters through the clouds on cloudy days. The only type of shade that blocks the solar cells is the shade that comes from trees or snow. So, if you keep the panels away from tree shade and free of snow they will absorb and produce energy even in the winter.
Snow on Solar Panels
If there is snow on the solar panels, they may not be able to produce energy on those days, but snow melts and the solar cells will begin to work again. What about solar panel damage from the snow? According to professionals such as Harmon Solar, a quality residential solar system will last for 25 years. Quality solar panels are tested to work year-round and withstand extreme weather. Snowfall will not damage the solar panels as they are made to handle freezing temperatures and the weight of snow and debris.
Solar panels are installed at a tilt so snow melts and slides off them. Certainly, you should move outdoor furniture and vehicles to prevent the snow from falling and damaging these items as the snow tends to slide off the panels in huge sheets, especially when the weather becomes warmer.
You can also install snow guards on the roof to prevent the snow from sliding off all at once and protect the areas under the edge of the roof.
By making use of the information above, you will be able to utilize solar energy optimally and consistently no matter the weather conditions. Taking time to thoroughly understand how solar panels function can help you stay prepared while also keeping expenses low. A little bit of due diligence goes a long way when it comes to solar energy.