“Do solar panels even work in winter?” is one of the frequently asked questions in snow prone states.
In a crux, yes they do work in winter but with lesser energy production.
One of the misconceptions behind this question is that solar panels produce more energy on a hot sunny day. However, solar panels produce energy from the “Light” of the sun and not the “Heat”. Photovoltaic panels even work more efficiently in cool weather. In summer, these panels can get overheated and produce less energy. Solar panels can work anywhere, as long as they are getting sunlight. However, the intensity of sunlight varies depending on the geographical location, weather, and climate.
Earth’s equator is closest to the sun’s light and solar energy production is at the peak in these areas. As you go away from the equator, the sunlight gets angled with lower intensity. The South and North pole get the lowest levels of sunlight. Despite this unavoidable fact, solar energy systems are designed for the angles of sun rays. The winter sun in the Northern Hemisphere (which is most of the United States) rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest. In months like November, December, and January the sun remains in the south all day long. To catch most of the sunlight, almost vertical solar panels facing south are needed.
Does my Solar Energy System Work in Snow?
In winter, when the solar panels are covered in snow, they do not produce any energy. However, due to the solar panels’ slippery surface and their angled direction, they shed snow pretty well without any assistance. As soon as the sky clears, the solar array can absorb the sun’s light as well as its heat to melt the snow.
Does Chilled Weather Affect Solar Panel Efficiency?
You would be surprised to know that solar panels’ efficiency is increased in cold weather. The photovoltaic technology works better when it is cold and absorbs sunlight better. When a heavy snowstorm has passed and the sun shines again, the snow also reflects sunlight on the panels, adding to what they were already receiving directly from the sun.
Can I Clean My Solar Array Myself?
There is no straight answer to this question. If you have easy and safe access to your solar panels, then putting in some extra effort in cleaning panels with the help of a snow scraper or roof rake is a good thing to optimize the system’s performance. However, this can also be risky and dangerous. Due to snow, the ladder and roof can get quite slick and might result in an injury. Also, using the wrong metal tools to clear snow off can damage your panels permanently. If you are unsure about cleaning your array, we recommend calling a solar installation and service company to clean up your panels.
Relying on Solar Power in Winter
YellowLite was founded in one of the cloudiest cities in the States - Cleveland, Ohio. One of our missions in Ohio was to prove that solar power is a valuable and realistic alternative energy option and can work perfectly in areas receiving less sunlight. To answer your question: Yes, People can rely on solar panels in winter as long as there are no heavy snowstorms or cloud coverage.
Throughout the U.S, YellowLite has installed over 1,000 residential, commercial, and rural solar power systems. We have never experienced zero energy production throughout the month, although there are dips on cloudy days.
We are determined to make your clean energy goals a reality. Even chilled winters can’t stop our solar panels from generating ample solar energy. YellowLite’s team of solar experts has broad experience dealing in solar installations even in the coldest and farthest Northern Hemisphere of the United States. Our solar design and strategy allows us to get the most of the solar arrays.
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