If you’ve been considering the sustainable route and choosing a solar system installation for your home, then you’ve probably already wondered: ‘‘Will my solar panels work during the winter season?’’
The short answer to this question is Yes! But it is crucial to understand the technology behind your rooftop solar system so that you can get the most out of it.
The Effects of Weather on Solar Panels
Although the details behind solar power are wholly scientific, it doesn’t take a scientist to communicate its quirks and benefits.
Solar panels are incredible. And as such, these highly resilient and reliable pieces of technology have been improving for more than a century and a half.
Manufacturers test their products to establish that they can withstand all sorts of weather conditions. These environmental tests can both prove and improve the reliability of solar panels. Before going on the market, each panel must pass strict performance scores and meet outdoor testing requirements. In addition, the tests ensure the panels have no defects, such as scratches on the frame or the glass and poor sealing.
So let’s see how different and harsher weather conditions may affect your solar panels.
A popular, widespread myth is that solar panels are somehow less effective in the cold. However, it is a fact that solar power isn’t limited to the warmer months. That is because what solar panels need the most is light, not heat.
Snow doesn’t hinder the solar panels’ power production because sunlight can still pass through a thin layer of it. And even if a thicker coat of snow covers the panels — the ‘slope’ tilt at which they’ve been installed, as well as their slick surface, help to get rid of it easily.
There’s also a substantial benefit to snow as it reflects light. And light is what your solar panels convert to energy.
Wind, Storms, and Lightning
There are rare situations where severe weather, such as large hail or a tropical storm, could damage a solar energy system. But most solar panels are built to resist an average-sized hail storm and winds of about 140mph.
Direct lightning hits are also a rarity. Although solar panels do not attract lightning, it could still cause damage if it hits them directly. However, most if not all solar panels have been ‘grounded,’ so you don’t need to worry about that happening. ’Grounding’ is a technique often used to divert the path of the lightning from an object straight into the ground.
Your solar panels can work even amid a hurricane. As long as rays are reaching them (indirect sunlight also works), they can still absorb and produce solar energy without a problem. Naturally, that also means your solar panels will keep working during the cloudy and rainy weather of the winter season.
There’s a common misconception that the summer heat is the best weather condition for solar panels. But as mentioned above, what solar panels need the most is light. Put simply, the actual temperature of the air doesn’t affect their productivity. All they rely on is the amount of sunlight that reaches them.
So, a cold day with clear skies and plenty of sunlight is much better than a scorchingly hot day with clouds.
Storing Solar Power
An important thing to remember is that you can store solar power.
The solar battery systems can save power for evenings and murkier, foggy days. There are several solar batteries available depending on your energy needs. For example, a larger set of batteries allows for a whole day of use before recharging.
Many factors contribute to the efficiency of your solar panels, but there’s at least one thing you don’t need to worry about. They will most certainly work during the winter season.
Solar technology has been in the works and improving for 150 years. As futuristic as solar panels may have once seemed, they are now established and reliable. And you can completely count on them to work in any sort of weather — be it snow, rain, storm, or heavy winds.