Will My Solar Panels Produce Enough Energy in the Winter?
When you normally think of solar power, you probably envision hot, arid climates like Arizona or Southern California. After all, sunshine and warm weather go hand-in-hand, allowing you to generate more clean energy per square inch.
But how will your solar photovoltaic (PV) panels perform if you live in colder, northern regions of the country?
Does it even make sense to install a PV system in the Northeast?
Actually, it does.
However, it’s important you understand the relationship between cold weather and solar power performance.
The Truth about Solar Energy Performance in the Winter
There are a few things you need to know about solar PV output during colder months.
• In the winter, the sun sits lower in the sky. This means there is less direct sunlight hitting your solar panels. This is true even at noon when most PV systems operate at full capacity.
• Days are also shorter during the winter months. If you live in New England, you might only get 8 or 9 hours of sunshine max. So your daily solar output will also be less than it would be during the summer months.
• Heavy snow cover can block out the sun. Fortunately, most solar panels are dark, meaning they absorb heat and make it hard for snow to stick. In addition, roofs are often sloped, which allows snow to fall off more easily. But it’s important you keep your panels clear of debris for optimal solar output.
These are some of the downsides of wintertime performance.
But there is one benefit.
Solar panel output is inversely related to temperature (up to a point). This mean that:
• As it gets colder, solar panel performance increases.
• As the temperature rises, the solar output decreases.
So during the coldest months of the year, a PV system in Massachusetts will outperform a similarly-sized solar installation in Arizona – if both receive the same amount of direct sunshine.
Understanding the Annual and Lifetime Benefits of Solar
There’s no denying it. Total solar output absolutely does diminish during the winter months – due to shorter days, less direct sunshine, and potential snow fall. So you won’t save as much money from your solar power investment as you would during the sunnier, longer days of the year.
But you will save money.
At Bright Eye Solar, we guarantee it .
Moreover, focusing on the day-to-day performance of your PV system is the wrong approach. What ultimately matters is the average annual savings that your PV system delivers:
• On some days, your panels will generate more clean power than you can use.
• On other days, the performance will dip, and you won’t get as much energy.
But instead of worrying about individual peaks and valleys, you should focus on the cumulative savings of your clean power investment.
It is this long-term focus that has allowed regions like Germany, Ontario, and Massachusetts to emerge as global solar leaders – despite their notoriously long winters.
Still have questions about solar power and wintertime performance?
We’re here to help.
Schedule a free consultation with the Bright Eye Solar Team today.
The Truth about Solar Panel Performance in the Winter
If you live in a cold, wintry region like New England or the Mid-Atlantic, does it make sense to install solar panels? Or are you better off sticking with normal grid electricity?