Some people assume that heat is required for solar panels to produce power, and that solar panels are therefore useless in the winter. In reality, solar panels require light, not heat, to produce energy, so solar panels will still work during the winter months. However, because winter days are shorter than summer days, meaning there is less sunlight, solar panels will not produce quite as much energy in the winter as they will in the summer. Heavy snow falls could also affect your panels, but there are ways to get around that issue. There are actually even positive effects on your output from the snow!
More Efficient When Cold
Not only do photovoltaic (PV) solar panels not require heat to produce energy, but they actually work more efficiently when it is cold outside. Manufacturers rate their solar panels for a peak temperature, and once the temperature of the panels rises above that peak temperature, their efficiency for creating electricity decreases. It is less likely that solar panels will ever reach this peak temperature during the winter, meaning they’re more likely to perform more efficiently. This could be the reason that solar panels are so popular in some of the coldest states!
What About the Snow?
If your panels are covered with a lot of snow, then they will not generate any energy because sunlight will be unable to hit the panels. This is one of the reasons that solar panels are installed at an angle. This makes it easy for snow to just slide right off of the solar panels. If the snow does not come off, then there are snow removal tools that you can use to clear your panels. Remember, this should only be done with a solar panel roof rake or by a professional so that you do not injure yourself or damage the panels.
Solar panels that are covered entirely with a thick layer of snow will not produce energy, but a smaller amount of snow on or around your panels can actually increase their output. The amount of sunlight that is reflected back when it hits certain types of surfaces, also known as the albedo effect, is greater when there is snow on the panel. When solar panels are surrounded by snow they end up absorbing twice the amount of light, which increases the energy output of the panels.
If you are looking for a solar energy system in a cold climate, then your best bet is to go with quality panels that offer the most efficiency. Go Solar Energy knows exactly how to help. Our agents are trained to compare panels from multiple companies across the nation in order to find the best match for your house and area. We will make sure that you have a solar energy system installed that will maximize your solar power production during the winter months. To start saving on your electric bills, enter your zip code on the homepage, or to speak directly to one of our agents call (888) 290-3112.