The Effects of Winter on Your Solar Energy System
The long days of summer are already waning and homeowners who have installed solar panels may worry about what the cooler seasons will mean for their system. Fortunately, the effects of winter on solar power are not as dramatic as most people fear. Here is what the new season means in terms of solar power.
Shorter Days, Longer Nights
While it’s true that solar panels can only derive energy during daylight hours, newer systems have more options to share or store energy.
Panels can share or store energy in two different ways. If the system is connected to the utility grid, excess energy can be sent back to the grid for others to use and you can receive incentives for this energy sharing. At night, your home will revert to standard electricity. A second option is to conserve excess energy in batteries which can then be used when sunlight is unavailable. Talk with a solar professional about which option is right for you.
Temperatures and Solar Power
Fortunately for those in colder climates, temperature has little to no effect on how much energy solar panels can absorb. In fact, colder temperatures are often more conducive to solar energy due to the reflective quality of snow and ice. Even on a sub-zero day, your solar panels will continue to work effectively as long as their is light to absorb.
Clouds and Solar
Understandably, it’s a common belief that solar panels need bright sunlight to effectively absorb energy. However, clouds don’t necessarily make solar panels useless. They can still absorb indirect sunlight, even when clouds are present. Work with a solar professional who can help you arrange your panels in the most effective manner to catch optimal light.
The Impact of Snow on Solar
As stated above, the glare from snow and ice often help solar panels absorb more light due to their reflective quality. In addition, the surface and warmth of solar panels tend to be a natural deterrent to snow cover. If you do find that a large drift of snow has covered one or more of your panels, it’s easy to remove it yourself or call in a professional if you don’t feel safe getting up on your roof.
Just because summer is coming to an end does not mean your solar panels will be less effective. Talk with your solar representative about how to best place your panels this fall and winter to take advantage of the most sunlight possible and enjoy the benefits of solar all year long. If you’d like more information on solar options, please visit our website.