Living outside the sunny Southwest? Chances are you get your fair share of snow during those long winters. We understand that memories of a cold and harsh winter are enough to discourage even the hardiest of homeowners.You, like many other people living in colder regions of the US, may believe that solar panels in winter isn't really a great option
What if we told you that you’re wrong about this, that some of the most popular regions for solar in the US have a snowy winters including Vermont, Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio.
Let's answer some of the basic questions that you might have about installing solar panels in winter:
- Will the weight of the snow damage my solar panels in winter?
- How will snow affect the efficiency of my solar panels?
- What about the cold? Does it affect my solar panels in winter?
Will the weight of the snow damage my solar panels in winter?
Your solar panels in winter may not be the Incredible Hulk, but they can withstand a certain amount of pressure. They have been pre-tested for durability and strength. And snow isn’t going to cause any damage to them. The higher the pressure rating on your panels, the more weight they can endure.
How will snow affect the efficiency of my solar panels?
Ok so, here is an obvious fact: If there is snow on your panels, they will not be able to produce any power. The snow can be cleaned off using the right equipment and we’re sure you don't mind some extra exercise either. Most houses in wintry regions already have pitched roofs, so the snow slides off. But if you have a flat rooftop, it’s best to install the solar panels in winter at a tilted angle to help the snow slide off.
What about the cold? Does it affect my solar panels in winter?
Turns out the cold and sunlight are actually best friends when it comes to making solar work. Like any other electronic machine, your solar panels work better in the cold than in the hot weather. This means that your panels work extra to produce power during those short winter days.
Are you still a bit skeptical about solar working in your cold and snowy hometown? Then let’s introduce you to the solar superpower of the world. Germany is one of the cloudiest countries in mainland Europe, its weather is matched to that of Alaska. This means it gets hardly any sun throughout the year. But guess what? 95% of Germany’s energy needs were met by solar energy last May! You may be interested to know that the top 10 cities for solar in the US are not the sunniest cities.
Now that we have (hopefully) convinced you that solar panels can work in winter regions, consider the following: winter is actually the best time to shop for solar panels if you’re a homeowner, as the competition and the prices are low. Financially speaking, investing in solar panels in winter is a really good idea.
Visit NREL’s online PVWatts Calculator to see how much solar your roof can produce, despite any snowy days ahead!