How Do Solar Panels Work In Winter? Getting The Most From The Cold
If you’ve recently put solar on your roof or are still considering if it’s a good fit for you, there’s likely a few questions you’re asking yourself, one of them being, ‘How on earth do solar panels work in winter?’. Many people are concerned about the efficiency of their solar panel systems during the winter months, especially if you live in a particularly cold place where you see less sun over the winter.
Never fear; whether you are a homeowner or business owner, you’re in the right place to learn everything you need about solar. In this blog, we will discuss how solar panels work during the winter and how you can take steps to maximise the efficiency of your solar system during the colder months.
What is Solar Energy, And How Do Solar Panel Systems Work?
Solar is a type of energy conducted by the sun, which is a natural resource. This energy can then be gathered and converted into suitable types of power, like electricity or heat for your home or solar hot water systems. Being a renewable energy source, solar doesn’t produce any greenhouse gases or deplete our natural resources.
Solar panels, also called PV systems (photovoltaic), work by converting sunlight into electricity. When the natural light lands on the solar panels, they produce Direct Current (DC) electricity; which the inverter converts to Alternating Currency (AC) electricity. Finally, AC electricity can be used for household appliances or can be fed back into the electrical grid.
How Temperature Affects Solar Panel Performance
While temperature can impact the efficiency of solar panels, it might not be in the way you think. Generally, solar panels tend to be more efficient at lower temperatures as it’s reliant on the sun, rather than heat, to produce power. Solar panels are fitted with something called a ‘temperature coefficient’ which helps measure their efficiency at different temperatures. If you are curious about your location and solar panel system, we’re more than happy to help you out.
The Impact Of Snow On Solar Panels And How To Remove It Safely
Whilst Western Australia doesn’t get cold enough for snow, there are areas within the country that do, like Victoria, down in Tasmania and all along the Australian Alps, so it’s important to work out where you need to be careful of in the winter months with your solar panels. Snow can negatively impact your solar panels in a few ways, like reducing their energy production and the efficiency of your system as well as causing structural damage.
It’s important to know how to remove snow from your solar panels. Here’s a few tips to do it safely :
- Don’t Use Sharp Tools: These can scratch or damage the panels. Instead use a soft-bristle brush or a snow rake that has rubber edges.
- Circle Panels First: If you remove the snow from round solar panels first, this encourages the sun to melt the rest off naturally
- Don’t Use Artificial Heat: Leave the hair dryers and hot water in the house, let the snow melt as naturally as you can.
- Hire The Professionals: When you’re on the roof, don’t lean your ladder against the solar panels. If you feel at all unsafe, call the professionals in to help.
The Importance Of Proper Installation And Maintenance For Winter
The importance of proper installation and maintenance of a solar system to get the best throughout winter shouldn’t be overstated. During the winter months, when harsh weather conditions can make it difficult, especially in rural areas, ensuring your system has been properly set up is crucial. Which is why hiring a company like iBreeze to install and maintain your systems are important.
They’ll make sure that your solar panels are correctly installed as well as the following:
- Tilt Angle: It’s important to install solar panels at the right angle to reduce snow build-up. A steeper angle is usually better and should be done by professionals. This helps the snow slide off naturally.
- The Orientation: The way your solar panels face is very important for getting the most energy from the sun. It’s especially important during winter when there’s less sunlight. Make sure your panels face towards the sun to get the most solar power possible.
- Structural Support: Your solar panel’s mounting structure is essential to it’s performance, and needs to be cared for to prevent damage.
- Panel Spacing: The correct panel spacing allows for better airflow that encourages heat dissipation more evenly and helps melt both snow and ice easier.
- Waterproofing During Installation: When installing solar panels, electrical components and wiring are necessary for insulation. It’s important to protect these parts from moisture, ice, and low temperatures.
When it comes to maintenance, organising regular maintenance check ups allows you to make sure your solar panel system is still in good condition. It also helps to make sure that your energy output is maintained allowing you to save money on your energy bills, despite the cold weather.
Practical Tips For Maximising Solar Panel Efficiency During Winter
Maximising solar panel efficiency during the winter can help to increase your solar energy output, even on shorter days of direct sunlight. Here are some practical tips to help you to increase your solar systems efficiency:
- Ensure Proper Installation: Proper solar panel installation comes with a proper tilt angle, orientation and structural support, meaning your system is set up to succeed from the beginning.
- Regularly Clean Your Panels: Clean panels absorb more sunlight and produce more energy output.
- Monitor Shading: Winter presents new shading problems that weren’t a problem during the summer months. Monitor the shading and call out an expert if you believe it’s affecting the productivity of your system.
- Optimise Energy Consumption — Where possible; it’s a wise idea to optimise your energy consumption during the winter; implement small energy-saving tips and tricks, to help keep your energy bills low in the winter.
- Regular Maintenance — ensure your solar panels are maintained to ensure effective solar production.
Get In Touch With The Professionals
Whilst WA mainly gets frigid mornings and rain in winter, with how seemingly polar opposite our seasons are getting, you never quite know what’s going to happen with the weather. If you are considering having solar installed, whether for greener energy or to save on bills or require solar system maintenance, then iBreeze is here to help. We operate from Perth to Mandurah to the Peel Region of WA and we’ll get your home or business fitted out. So, if you are looking for a professional solar company to set your solar system up to survive the winter months, even if we don’t get snow here in WA, reach out to iBreeze today!
For energy efficient, effective heating and cooling solutions all year round, reach out to our team of specialists. We’ll deliver the highest comfort to both your residential and commercial space, no matter the size or scale.
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