Solar power is more prevalent in the US than ever before. In fact, total solar capacity today is enough to power about 18 million average US homes. If you’re thinking about investing in residential solar panels for yourself and you live in a cold climate, you might find yourself wondering, “do solar panels work in the winter?”
The short answer is yes! Continue reading to learn more about the efficacy of solar panels in the winter so you can confidently decide if they’re right for your home.
How Solar Panels Work
For starters, let’s take a quick look at how solar technology works. Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells, which are made of electrons. These electrons get energy when hit by photons, or particles of light. From there, your solar panels convert that energy into an electric current stored within the cell, which is used to power your home.
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What Happens During Cold Temperatures?
So, the most important thing to remember is that solar panels don’t use heat to generate energy. They use light. Even on the coldest of days, the sun can make an appearance, meaning your solar panels can still create enough energy to power your home. In fact, your solar panels might work even better on cold days compared to hot ones.
Think of your solar panels like an electronic device. Does your computer, for instance, work better when it gets overheated? Of course not! The same is true for your solar panels.
What Happens When It Snows?
While cold weather alone won’t affect your energy output from your solar panels, snow may be a different story. If you live in an area that mostly gets a small dusting of snow, you can still expect your panels to operate as normal.
However, when falling snow accumulates on your panels, the UV rays from the sun won’t be able to penetrate the build-up, preventing your panels from generating energy. One way to help prevent this is to have your solar panels installed at an angle, so snow slides off easily. You can also manually brush the snow off your panels to help prevent too much build-up.
What Happens When Your Panels Don’t Produce Enough Energy?
If you live in a snowy climate, you might worry that solar panels aren’t a good option for your home. However, keep in mind that if your panels have built-in battery storage, they will store the excess energy that you don’t use on sunny days. Then, you can tap into that excess energy on very snowy days.
Additionally, you can use energy from the utility grid if you don’t have enough excess power to use. Either way, you won’t be without electricity.
Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?
So, do solar panels work in the winter? Now you can say with confidence that they do! As long as you manage snow accumulation on your panels, you should have nothing to worry about.