Those who decide to invest in solar panels will face a great challenge during the winter months.
As there is minimal sunlight and rainfall, everyone wants to ensure that they can depend on the panels throughout the year for energy production.
Solar panels will in fact produce energy during the winter, however their output will reduce by 32% on average.
When solar panels have been installed in the winter, electricity production has been taken into consideration, so your power needs will still be met.
Read on to understand how solar panels are able to work in winter and how to maintain them during this period.
How Do Solar Panels Work In Winter?
As in winter there are shorter hours and a lower sun angle, winter reduces the efficiency of solar panels. The question is, do cooler temperatures compensate for that? Yes,and no.
Solar panels operate more efficiently at cooler temperatures because solar panels often work best at temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees. The lower the temperature, the better the efficiency.
If the panels are in the presence of a temperature above 25 degree, the Solar Panels Winter Performance will begin to deteriorate.
Read More: Do Solar Panels Work at Night?
How Does The Winter Affect Solar Panels’ Energy Production?
Solar panels will not perform identically in summer and winter. Here are the three main factors:
Despite what you may think, colder weather is actually better for solar panels’ efficiency than warmer weather- this is a slight benefit from the winter months.
Whilst this may not seem correct, remember that only visible light matters for energy production. Heat does not interact with photovoltaic cells to make more energy.
2. Light levels
Unfortunately, any benefit that is generated from colder temperatures is outweighed by lower light levels which will affect solar panels on a cloudy day. Three factors will contribute to less light in winter:
- Higher proportion of overcast days
- Fewer hours of daylight
- The sun is lower in the sky
Although solar panels will still be able to generate energy on overcast days, they could be anywhere between 50% and 90% less efficient.
Additionally, the sun being lower in the sky means that less direct sunlight hits your solar panels and shorter days mean that sun simply is not around for as long in a 24-hour period.
The biggest issue that winter brings is snow. However, thankfully this is an issue that you can do something about.
Any cells that are covered in snow will not generate any energy as sunlight cannot reach them. The simplest solution is to get up on your roof and clear the panels so that they are no longer obstructed.
How Much Do Solar Panels Generate In Winter?
The factors that have previously been mentioned all mean that solar panels will only produce around a fifth of the energy that they would produce in the summer.
Does that mean that you have wasted all that money on your facility’s solar panels? Should you not invest into solar panels in the future? Emphatically, no.
Companies such as EvoEnergy will take season factors into account when they work out what kind of installation you need.
If worked out correctly, the installation should meet your needs all year round, especially if the solar PV is accommodated by a battery system that will store energy generated in the sunnier periods during winter.
It is important to remember that the gloomy winter days are at one end of the spectrum and bright summer days are at the other, so when it comes to solar panels installation, your provider will be heavily taking this into account.
How Do You Take Care Of Your Solar Panels During The Winter?
To prepare your solar panels to reach their maximum efficiency, you should follow these steps to make sure your panels generate as much energy as possible.
Keep Your Panels Clean
Despite how your panels will be in top shape during the autumn months, you shouldn’t take your chances as winter approaches.
Take some time to clean your solar panels and get rid of any dirt on the panel surface. Avoid using harsh chemicals and abrasive tools to help protect the glass surface.
You should also prune any tree leaves and branches that could cause any shading to your panels and complete a system check to ensure everything is working properly.
Angle Your Panels To Face The North
As the sun is lower, angling your solar panels to face the north allows them to trap more sunlight. Use the Clean Energy Council for precise combinations of angles depending on your location.
Reduce Energy Consumption
As your solar panels will not produce the same amount of energy as they would in the summer, it is advised to use less energy over the winter months.
Begin regulating how much power you use every day to figure out which appliances are consuming the most amount of electricity.
Make sure you are only using appliances when they are needed and switch them off when they are out of use to save electricity and it’s always a best practice to have an energy efficient home as much as possible.