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Memories of cold, snowy winters past can be discouraging even for the hardiest homeowner. If you’re considering going solar, you might be wondering whether solar panels and snow are a bad combination. On the contrary. After all, if you look at solar as an investment, then it should be able to generate returns throughout the year as other investments do. Luckily, plenty of people have both solar panels and snow, and some of the most popular regions in the UK for solar have snowy winters. Don’t let winter weather discourage you from going solar!
Do solar panels work in the winter?
A common myth is that solar panels do not work during winter, but in contrary, the cold temperature will typically improve solar panel output. The white snow can also reflect light and help improve PV performance. Winter will only hurt solar production if the panels are covered with snow.
What happens to my solar panel performance in snow?
You don’t have to live in hot countries like Spain to achieve strong solar panel performance. As you consider solar panels for your home, remember that even if we do have a very cold winter again, the worst of winter only lasts three months, so your days of low sunlight and heavy snow are limited. And the further from the equator you are, the longer your days are when the summer comes around—so while you may generate slightly less power in the winter months, you can make up for it with more sunshine in the summer.
Solar panel snow problems are usually minimal. However, there are a few things that you should know about the implications of winter weather as you consider installing a solar energy system on your home:
All solar panels are designed to bear a certain amount of weight – and snow will usually not be heavy enough to cause issues. All solar panels undergo pressure tests to assess durability and quality. Ratings vary by panel, with higher pressure ratings indicating that your panels are better at withstanding the weight of heavy snow.
If snow covers your panels, they can’t produce power – but it’s easy to clean them off with the right equipment. Solar panels need sunlight to produce power, so if your solar panels are covered in snow, they will not generate electricity. Most panels are tilted at an angle, so snow will slide off on its own accord, but that can take time. You can take control of the situation by getting a solar panel snow rake or similar tool made for solar panel snow removal that won’t damage the panels.
Cold, sunny weather is actually good for panels. Winter months are actually good for solar energy production, as long as your panels aren’t covered by snow. Like most electronics, solar panels function more efficiently in cold conditions than in hot. This means that your panels will produce more power for each precious hour of sunshine during the short days of winter.
Sunny countries like Spain and Portugal are not the only places where solar makes sense. In fact, the top 10 countries for solar in the world The UK comes 8th. This happens also with large percentages of solar installations coming during winter weather months. This is largely due to the fact that electricity prices are one of the biggest drivers of solar savings – the higher your electricity rates, the more money you will save by going solar.
Need further proof? Consider Germany, whose sunshine levels are similar to Alaska’s. For over a decade, this northern European country has led the world in solar panel installations, and solar makes a significant contribution to their national energy mix. Although other countries, including the U.S. and China, are starting to catch up, Germany’s success is a shining example of how winter weather solar can work in countries across the globe. On an international level, solar panels and snow certainly do go together.
Now that you know that your solar panels can produce electricity in the winter, consider this: winter is also the best time to shop for solar if you’re a homeowner looking for the best value possible. Fill the form out below or ring us on 01613307739 and see how much you can save!