With winter gracing the northern hemisphere with its presence, many people are wondering how its visit will affect their solar installations. From snowfalls to the typical lack of sunlight, it seems like solar panels are in for a hard time. After all, how can you make the most out of your system in overcast weather? What do you need to watch out for when it comes to winter solar energy? Without further ado, here are 2 things to know about going solar in the winter.
Watch Out for Snow!
The first of the 2 things to know about going solar in the winter is that you should watch out for snow.
Now, for most solar panel owners, this means minding its weight. However, what they don’t know is that all solar panels are designed to withstand a certain amount of snow. As such, every solar panel has a pressure rating that indicates how much snow it can handle. If you live in a snowy area and want to go solar, you should check those ratings and see which system works best for you.
Where snow can actually be a real problem is in the amount of electricity your panels will produce under it. While most panels are tilted at an angle that allows for snow to fall off, that usually takes some time. You can try cleaning solar panels yourself, but be careful not to damage them. There is special equipment, such as solar panel snow rakes, that will prevent causing damage to the panels. However, if you feel inept to deal with this, it’s always better to call in a specialist to help you out.
Do Shorter Days Equal Less Savings?
When it comes to solar energy production, wintertime is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, days are shorter, which means less solar energy for your panels. Combine that with the snow that covers the panels and you can end up with not enough electricity for your home. It’s important to manage your electricity usage to maximize savings, otherwise you might end up with a big energy bill.
On the other hand, solar panels function more efficiently in low temperatures. As a result, panels will squeeze a bit more energy for each hour of sunlight. Furthermore, snow can reflect light just like a mirror, increasing the surface area covered by the sunlight. As long as you keep the panels snow-free, you can actually end up saving more than you would on a summer day.
Tips About Using Solar Panels in Winter
While nobody can control the weather, there are some things you can do to get through the season:
- Regularly remove the snow and frost from your solar panels
- Use special tools such as solar panels snow rakes to avoid damaging the panels
- Check the pressure rating before installing new solar panels
- Don’t use solar panels with different ratings to avoid failure of certain sections of your solar installation
- Make sure that the solar batteries are mounted indoors, or are at least insulated
- Adjust the angle of solar panels to allow the snow to fall off more easily
All in all, you shouldn’t be scared of winter. While it’s a bit inconvenient and may result in less money saved, you won’t notice much of a difference. That being said, you still need to take care of your solar panels and remove snow and frost. Failure to do so will most likely result in higher bills or even damaged solar panels. Remember the 2 things to know about going solar in the winter — they’re the first step toward protecting your solar panel system and saving money.