Solar Panels and Winter Weather

Solar panels? In the winter? With snow and cold? Really?

Yes, really.

Winter weather with cold and snow and ice usually leads to an increase in energy use to keep homes warm. The possibility exists for this increased usage to lead to shortages in the fuels typically used for this energy. That then leads to increased prices for these fuels.

Sometimes, winter weather brings power outages, also.

If you use solar panels to power your home heating, you can have nearly uninterrupted power, even if the lines go down. No matter how cold the temperatures outside, your solar panels will still work well in winter weather.

In fact, they may work even better. The reason for this is solar panels work on the sun’s photovoltaic light, not its heat. Cold winter weather can bring an increase in your solar panel effectiveness by as much as 15%. Heat actually decreases solar panel effectiveness by up to 25% in some cases.

So if you live in a cold environment, don’t rule out using solar panels for home heating.

Of course, some factors come into play when using solar panels in cold climates or in winter weather. Be sure to customize your renewable energy system to your environment. One way to do this with solar panels is to orient your panels to catch as much of the sun’s rays as possible during winter months.

Another issue in winter weather is snow and ice. Be sure to remove snow from your solar panels so the sun can get to them. You may elect just to wait and let the sun melt the snow from the panels. This is an effective choice. Or you may want to remove the snow yourself to maximize your solar power output.

If you choose to remove the snow yourself, be careful. You don’t want to scrape the solar panels when removing snow. Using a snow rake with a softer material attached can help with this. Be very careful if you climb onto the roof. Be equally careful in removing snow load from the ground. Falling snow from the roof can be a hazard.

For more information about solar panels and winter weather, contact Alternate Energy in Plymouth, MA. They’re waiting to help you.

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