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How Effective Are Solar Panels In Winter?

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By Author: Sun Lover
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Solar panels work in the winter. Surprising, but true. Though the output may be lower than what one may experience in the peak summer months, it has been found that they are in fact rather efficient in winter. Even in freezing, sub-zero temperatures, the solar panels continue to do their magic by turning sunlight into electricity. The reason is that the solar panels absorb the light from the sun rather than the sun’s heat. So, all one requires for solar panels to work well in winter and generate electricity is for sunlight to hit a solar panel. The only factors that can hamper solar energy production in winter could be shorter daylight hours and the sun being lower in the sky, creating more shade.

How does snow affect solar panels?

What Happens When it Snows?

Does a panel covered in snow mean it will stop working?

The answer is, even when covered in snow, the solar panels continue their work. Sunlight penetrates through the snow to reach the solar panels. The reflective glass on the panels aids in melting the snow, which then falls off, without obstructing their performance ...
... in producing energy.
Also, because the solar panels are placed at a 30 - 45-degree tilt, it stops too much snow from getting collected.

Besides, the albedo effect - the ability of surfaces to reflect sunlight – gets enhanced on cold but clear days as the snow reflects extra sunlight on top of the panels. This results in the production of more electricity in the winter, especially when it snows.

Does one have to remove snow from the panels regularly?
On a clear day, the need to remove snow from your panels will not arise as the sun will melt it away gradually. In fact, snow from solar panels melt more quickly than from regular roofs. However, if there is a snow build-up for days together, you may have to physically brush off the snow off your roof.

Solar Panel Heating System
Solar panel heating systems consist of either a heated water line or an electric line to keep the solar panels warm to enable the snow accumulated on them to melt. They are typically used in places that face very heavy snowfall and long winters. With a heating system in place, there is no worry about your panels generating electricity even when there is heavy snowfall.

Winter Vs Summer – How do solar panels work?
It is a fact that solar panels will produce lesser energy in the winter months than in the summer months. The reasons are less sunlight time because of shorter days, the angle of the sun, which is lower in sky, and other climatic conditions.
Net metering, where extra energy produced in summer, is sent to the grid, comes in handy in winter months when the panels don’t produce the same amount of energy. Solar energy users can make use of their credits to keep enjoying free or low-cost energy even during the winter.

Do solar panels cause global warming?

Though solar panels are made of environmentally safe substances like silica, tempered glass, and wire, the fact remains that the process of manufacturing solar panels leads to the creation of carbon dioxide. Another issue is the problem of disposal of the panels once their life is over. At times, this waste has toxic materials like lead and cadmium and there is the risk of these entering the soil when the panel cells are broken. While a majority percentage of the broken panels are recycled, some of them end up as hazardous waste. Soil erosion is also a concern while constructing large solar farms which involves drilling and plowing and other processes common in any large-scale development. The construction may have an impact on the local habitats like plants and animals.

All said and done, solar energy is still a far safer and eco-friendly option when compared to conventional sources of energy. Replacing your energy with solar, whether it is summer or winter, is certainly the way forward. At Solar Power Nation, we help your make the right choice when it comes to affordable solar panels. Say yes to green energy!

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