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Does Weather Affect your Solar Energy Performance?

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Here’s the short answer: solar energy works in all weather conditions!

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Remember the last time you passed a grid of solar energy panels on a house, business, or wind turbine while driving and wondered, “How well do those work?” Maybe it was a sunny summer afternoon, or perhaps it was during a snow flurry in the middle of February. Either way, we bet you were curious! Weather and climate do have an impact on the performance of solar panels, and we’re breaking down the details for you.

Solar Energy Performance in the Summer
It’s a common misconception that solar panels require lots of hot, sunny days in order to perform their best. In reality, yes–sunshine is crucial for solar energy performance, so your solar system can produce the most electricity possible. However, super high temps don’t necessarily equal higher performance. In fact, high heat can steal away as much as 10% of solar panels’ efficiency, depending on the panel and the actual roof temperature. Long sunny days with a warm but mild weather forecast are ideal for the best solar energy output. And don’t worry, clouds and fog don’t render your solar panels useless! Just like we can still get a sunburn on cloudy days, your solar panels are still receiving the necessary sunlight. There’s also something called the “edge of cloud” effect, where the wispy edges of cumulus clouds passing in front of the sun act as a magnifying glass producing a stronger beam of sunlight, which can actually increase electricity production!

Solar Energy Performance in the Winter
Many people are surprised to learn that their solar panels can actually perform better in winter weather conditions! Like many other electronics, solar panels work more efficiently in cooler temperatures. When it’s cold, solar panels produce more voltage, and thus more electricity. This is because the photovoltaic (PV) technology in solar panels is able to more efficiently convert sunlight to power when it is colder. You’re probably thinking, “But what about snow? Won’t that block my panels from receiving light?” Think about those winter evenings when the ground is covered in a fresh layer of powder, and it appears to be bright and light outside even though it may be late into the night. Snow can actually reflect additional sunlight onto your panels! While it’s true that your panels won’t work as efficiently if they’re completely covered by snow for an extended period of time, we take that into consideration during your solar energy installation. Your panels are typically mounted to face the direction of the sun and are usually on a slope. Also, the surface of solar panels is much slicker than roofing shingles, helping the snow slide off more quickly.

Additionally, rain and snow are actually beneficial for solar panels because they naturally wash off any dust, pollen, and other irritants that may accumulate on the panels.

Impressed how well solar panels can work in all weather conditions? Chat with us today about the process and benefits of going solar!

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