Jessica PirroJune 14, 20194080
Solar and Snow
With Summer 2019 rounding the corner a lot of people are considering going solar. Most people associate the advantages of solar with the sun because that’s how the solar panels generate power. Solar cells themselves are designed to take the sun’s radiation and then turn it into energy because that is one of the more common solar power facts. But that isn’t all you need to know about how solar power works before you go solar.
Most people try to go solar before summer they can use the summer sun to make the most of the advantages of solar, without even thinking about the efficiency of a solar panel in the heat. But before people switch to go solar they want to know how solar panels will work all year long. For people who live in sunny states like California, they don’t even question the efficiency of a solar panel in the winter, which is a lesser known solar power fact.
But in states on the east coast, though their summer days are longer, which offers East Coasters their unique advantages of solar. The winter days on the East Coast are shorter and filled with snow, proving to be one of the cons to solar energy. This will cause perspective solar panel buyers in those states to question the efficiency of a solar panel in the winter, before actually purchasing the solar panels.
Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?
Contrary to what most people believe, it is a solar power fact that the efficiency of a solar panel is quite well in the winter, which is one of the less talked about advantages to solar. Because the solar panels convert the sunlight to electricity, as long as there is sunlight hitting the solar panels, no matter the weather, it will work. Actually, the photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are more efficient when it is cold than they are in the heat and the panels slowing down in the hearing is one of the lesser-known cons to solar.
Because, like all electric appliances, solar panels will work more efficiently in cooler temperatures. Another solar power fact is, solar panels are being tested for their maximum output, the testing is being done at 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler temperatures that solar panel output is at an optimal output. The lab testings will give those looking to go solar more knowledge on how solar panels work in real-world situations.
Manufacturers will rater their solar panels for their peak temperatures. The peak temperature is beyond which the efficiency of a solar panel will begin to decrease. When the temperature of the panels rises above the peak temperature, how efficient a solar panel is when it is creating electricity is what decreases, which is one of the cons to solar energy that not many people talk about. During the winter time, it’s not as likely that the solar panels will reach their peak temperatures. They are more likely to be performing at peak efficiency. Most people aren’t told that some of the best advantages of solar come in the winter.
But, this increase in efficiency is then canceled out due to one of the solar cons that is, the days are much shorter, which means that there are only a few hours of sunlight during the winter. This solar power fact results in energy outputs during the winter which isn’t that different than outputs in the summer.
Another solar power fact is that the efficiency of a solar panel will depend on the geographical location form the equator. The solar panel requirement and the savings you can make will change depending on where you’re located. Depending on your location depends if you will experience one of the advantages of solar, or one of the cons of solar.
So there is no need to worry about the efficiency of a solar panel during the winter. The solar panels will also be able to keep your home warm during the winter and you’ll be able to lower the cost of your winter bills, which is one of the more favorable advantages of solar.
Regular heating systems drain electricity and result in high bills during the winter. Solar panels are a way to help you significantly lower your bills a fan favorite advantage of solar.
If There’s Snow On My Solar Panels Will Energy Still Be Generated?
In the winter time, depending on your location, it is possible that a think layer of snow will get stuck on the panels, one of the cons to solar. If that’s the case the solar panels aren’t going to generate power. But that rarely will affect the solar panels in the real-world conditions. There are a few factors that will change how solar power works in the winter versus how solar power works in the summer.
A known solar power fact is that solar panels are normally installed at an angle, it will make it easier for the snow to slide off. One thing that they should be considered if they consider getting solar panels with either continuous panel tracking or the seasonal panel tracking. Both of these systems have the ability to change the angles tilt, which is advantages to solar, especially in the winter. The steeper the angles during the winter, it is possible to optimize the angle of the sun rays that are falling on the panel and it will also make it harder for the snow to pile up.
The darker the solar, the more heat it attracts and the more it helps to melt the snow. Solar panels are normally designed to attract the sun’s rays and trap them. It’s a solar power fact that on average, solar panels are 36 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. Even a little bit of sunlight will possible causing solar panels to start warming up and will quickly speed up the whole snow melting process, which makes darker solar panels in winter advantages to solar.
Snow has anti-soiling properties, therefore when it melts off the panels, it will take any dirt that’s on the panels with it. It’s similar to what happens with the snow that’s covering the widescreen of car: when it’s allowed to melt off, it will take all of the dirt with it. Once the snow melts off you’ll end up with cleaner panels that will work at a higher efficiency, making it so there are two advantages of solar is simply melting snow.
The snow can increase the output of your solar panels. The solar power fact is called the albedo effect are where the sun’s light when it hits the earth’s surface it’s then reflected back to the atmosphere. A much greater amount of sunlight is reflected back when it hits certain kinds of surfaces, a good example of being white, reflective snow. When solar panels are surrounded by snow they can end up absorbing two times the amount of light all due to the albedo effect and it will increase the energy output of the solar panels. The albedo effect proves to be yet another advantage of solar.
If you must, you should use snow removal tools. It is solar power than that unless it’s absolutely necessary you shouldn’t use snow removal tools because they can damage the solar panels, which will affect how solar panels work and you also risk injuring yourself, one of the cons to solar and snowfall.
The snow shouldn’t dramatically impact the solar panels or how they work in the winter time.
Snow Guards For Solar Panels
It’s not applicable for places that only get high amounts of snowfall. The solar panels themselves shouldn’t suffer any damage from the heavy snowfall. The guards help prevent a few cons to solar. A solar power fact when it comes to the manufacturing of solar panels is, any solar panel will be manufactured to withstand different sorts of weather and it will include snow. Solar panels are built to last.
But if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, it may be worth it to invest in snow guards. Snow guards will help you avoid any damages or injuries, which are the more known cons to solar and snow. Because solar panels aren’t like standard roofing material, they don’t offer a lot of friction when the snow piles up on them. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, you will risk the chance of falling snow chunks that will slide from the panels.
The snow guards are a great option because they are on the cheaper side, they will allow the snow to gradually fall off the panels, eliminating the risk of ice snow falling from your panels. Like most cons to solar, the cons to solar created by snowfall can be, for the most part, prevent.
The Bottom Line
Solar panels are a good option year round. Even if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, solar panels will be a good option to reduce your electricity costs.
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