For a device that basks on its potency to utilize solar energy, it is not out of place to wonder whether or not this device could be able to cope in cold weather. So, if you are in a hurry, we will go straight and answer your question. The answer is yes, solar panels can work in the winter. However, if you have some time to spare, we advise you to read through the whole piece to get a better perspective on how the winter affects the solar panels, the shortfalls, and how to mitigate them. Our team at Backyard Revolution has been installing solar panels for thousands of homes in the US and we have acquired a wealth of experience to advise you on how you can make the most of your solar panel during the winter season.
The winter is characterized by two major conditions. First is the fact that the weather is mostly cold, then secondly, it comes with a lot of snow. So, in this piece, we will be explaining how your solar panels respond to cold weather and also how you can take care of your panel in the snow for optimal performance.
Solar Panels and cold weathers
It might interest you to know that cold weathers are compatible with solar panels and optimize the conversion of solar energy to electrical energy. This is not possible if the solar panel is submerged in snow. Most electronic device is designed with photovoltaic technology that enables the device to optimally utilize solar energy when it is cool. Solar panels are also built photovoltaic (PV) technology, so when the device is cool, it hastens the rate at which it converts solar energy to electric power. This is even more possible with the reflection of the sun on snows, providing a more available raw energy source for the panel in addition to the direct sunlight it is receiving.
Do solar panels work in the snow?
Now, there are cases where because of the winter season, the panel is covered with snow. In situations like this, the solar panel cannot function effectively, meaning that it will lose the ability to produce electrical energy from sunlight. However, snow does not exact any physical damage to the device. The reason is that solar panels are designed with a significant weight-resistant capacity that allows it to comfortably carry a body of snow. Manufacturers subject Solar panels to several pressure tests to ensure that it is durable. Some panels can withstand more pressures than others and this accounts for their ratings. You might have to consider that when investing in a solar panel for your home.
Since we have established that snow does not cause any physical damage to the solar panel, let’s look at how we can help our solar panels optimize electricity production during the winter. We mentioned above that solar panels when covered in snow can’t perform optimally, however this reduction in production is not so significant when you analyze the ratio of the annual production rate.
Some customers resort to clearing the snow from their panels to increase energy production. This also works, but it is a delicate process. But, if you wish to follow that route, then you can read up the instruction we have shared below.
How to clear snow from your panels?
There are two ways you can take care of the snow covering your solar panel. One depends on the kind of solar panel you installed and how you positioned it on the roof. Some solar panels are designed to tilt at an angle making it possible for the snow to slide off effortlessly. However, if your solar panel is not tilted, then you can tactically install it on the roof in a slanting position to achieve the same effected as those tilted in an angle.
The alternative way to go about this as we mentioned earlier is to occasionally remove the snow from your panel. While we do not recommend this procedure, it has proven to be an effective way of ensuring that the solar panel keeps converting solar energy optimally during winter. We do not recommend it because it is a delicate procedure and if not done properly could end up damaging the panel in the process. However, with the right equipment, the process can be made with less risk.
You can use equipment like a roof rake. The roof rake can be used to clean the roof areas around the panel. Most times, snows accumulate on your panel because the areas around the panels are also covered in snow, so it becomes difficult for the snow to slide off the panel. So, clearing those areas around the panel will free up space on the roof for the snow on the panel to slide into. This way, you are avoiding direct contact between the rake and the panel.
If you must use the rake directly on the panel, it is advised that you insert a layer of foam on the rake for insulation before applying it gently on the surface of the panel to get the snow off. Even this should be done with utmost care as we have heard some customers complain about how they ended up damaging their panel using this process.
Now that we have proven that winter does not have a significant impact on the production of solar panels, we will leave you with a market secret. There is no better time to purchase a solar panel other than the winter season. It’s a simple economy of demand and supply. The demand for solar panels is low during the winter season as most persons believe that the season affects the panel. This reduces the asking price for solar panels and you will have lots of options in the market place to explore. We at Backyard Revolution can come in handy in helping you make the best purchase and install it in a way that will make it easy to maintain and clean.