A normal person without any technical know-how or deep scientific understanding usually assumes that solar panels work the best in the summer. A popular concept is that solar panels only work in bright sunny days, people think that winter can’t be good and ask that do solar panels work in the winter?
So, we put our time and effort into the research of the topic and found some amazing facts that will surprise you. In short, cloudy days with weak sun rays are even better for solar panels, and your solar panel can work with more efficiency. Now, let’s find out more about it along with some maintenance tips that will help keep the solar panel good as new.
Why do solar panels work better in the cold?
Yes, in some cases, solar panels work better in the cold sunny days because the heat in the summer can decrease the efficiency of the panels. In simple words, energy from the sun is converted into electricity by the panels.
But in summer, a portion of the energy gets converted into heat, decreasing the whole system’s efficiency. That is how a solar panel works better in the cold. Moreover, the clean snow around the area works as a mirror and reflects sunlight on the panels.
All things are favorable to the solar panels in the winter, making it work more efficiently in the winter than the summer season. Imagine that you are asked to run 5 miles on a hot summer day and on a cold winter day.
In summer, you will be exhausted, tired, and heavily sweating after the run, which will not be the case in the winter. That also happens to the solar panels in a general sense, but let’s talk more about the fact with more data and scientific reasoning in our main section below.
Do solar panels work in the winter?
The straight and one-liner answer is yes; solar panels do work in the winter and can even perform better than the summer season. To understand the fact scientifically, you will need to understand the working of the panels.
You must know how electrons move around the atoms, and it is important to get a hold of the topic. When there is no sunlight, which is at night, electrons rest as there is low energy and nothing to excite them. But in the daytime, there is sunlight, which means high energy, and it creates a voltage difference in the panels.
As a result, electricity is created where heat has nothing to do with the electricity creation process. On the contrary, the heat created around the solar panels in the summer decreases the efficiency of converting sunlight into electricity, resulting in lesser performance.
So, the common thing is that both summer and winter seasons have sunlight to be converted into electricity. The main difference is the heat produced in the summer season, which decreases efficiency compared to the winter season’s performance.
You have to understand that the temperature in nature is not responsible or doesn’t affect the number of rays a solar panel receives, and yet, it can affect the production. When the panels’ temperature gets higher, some energy gets lost through heat, making it less efficient.
However, you will notice that the total electricity produced in the winter is not as much as in the summer. It is because of the daytime variation, which is longer in the summer giving the panels more time to keep producing electricity.
If you carefully examine the manuals of your solar panel, you will notice that the manufacturer noted the panels’ peak temperature. That temperature means that the panels can work most efficiently until it crosses that point.
In winter, there is no way that the temperature outside gets past that mark, meaning the highest level of electron reactions occurring the whole daytime. So, the solar panels can work more efficiently without losing anything to the heat transmitted outside.
One may still ask how can solar panels still be efficient if there is snow covering the top layer? You have to understand that sun rays can still reach the panels through snow and excite the electrons.
Moreover, the dark layer on the panels is efficient at receiving sunlight, which melts the snow away. So, you will get a cleaner panel as soon as the sun comes out, and you won’t have to take the hassle of cleaning it by yourself. We hope that answers to the question, do solar panels work in the winter?
Cold climates Maintenance tips for solar panels
People love solar panels because of their low maintenance and sustainable renewable energy providing features. Now, let’s see what the little maintenance steps that you need to ensure in the winter season to keep it functioning properly.
- You know that the sun in the winter season rises and stays at a different angle than the summer season. So, tilting the panels and matching that angle will let the panels work in more efficiency resulting in more charge quickly. Also, ensuring the panels’ faces to the south will give the panels more time to absorb the energy.
- In winter, panels might get covered in the snow, and it is tempting to clear away the snow immediately in the morning. But don’t do it because you might get hurt or damage the panels while cleaning it from the ground. Either the snow will meltdown, or you will have to call for professionals to clear it with the necessary equipment.
Frequently asked questions
Even after such a descriptive article above, we know that a lot of you are still wondering about a few things, and let’s try to clear some of those by answering the questions below.
Do I Need to Remove Snow from My Solar Panels?
First of all, you don’t need to remove snow from your solar panel as it will melt away soon after the sun rises, and the batteries would start charging. Secondly, you should not do it because it might void the panel warranty and you might get injured in the process.
How often do you clean your solar panels?
Cleaning your solar panels at least once a year is okay, but you can do it twice a year for more efficiency and better results.
Do I need to turn off solar panels to clean?
It is recommended to put the solar panels on the ground before start cleaning, and you should certainly turn it off while doing the cleaning.
We have tried to answer the question “do solar panels work in the winter” in both ways, the non-technical one and the technical one. It is no doubt that solar panels work somewhat better in cold weather and can create electricity with weakened sun rays. So, don’t worry about the charge in the winter anymore and try to keep our maintenance tips in mind for better results.