Do Solar Panels Operate In Winter? The short answer is, yes they do!
For large parts of this year, the UK has encounter numerous days of sunshine. So much so, that many solar power customers have enjoyed free energy during parts of spring and across summer.
The country’s position in the North Atlantic, means that the UK usually has a long wet winter, with sunshine often hard to come by.
Does this matter though? Is the decreased sunlight a major issue? What factors affect how well a solar panel performs? Carry on reading to find out!
How Do Solar PV Panels Work?
Solar Panels work by allowing particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, this creates a flow of electricity.
Each solar cell within a panel is actually 2 layers of silicon, one is given a positive charge and the other negative. This creates the electrical field at the junction between the silicon layers. When a photon of sunlight knocks an electron free, the electric field will push that electron out of the silicon junction.
Solar panels contain a special type of silicon unit called photovoltaic cells, which activate and produce energy when they come into contact with photons. An inverter then makes this energy usable and feeds it to your home, office or the grid. All of this works better in sunny conditions, solely because stronger sunlight is a stronger source of energy.
Do Solar Panels Work In The Snow?
When a solar panel is covered with snow, it cannot produce electricity. However, solar arrays tend to dissolve snow pretty well. The actual panels themselves absorb the sun’s heat as well as it’s light.
While it’s true that solar panels drop in production when they’re covered with snow, the percentage of overall yearly production lost is actually very small, making them a good investment if you’re looking to go green and generate your own electricity.
What Factors Affect How Well A Solar Panel Performs?
Temperature: Many people believe that a solar PV system would work better in warm weather, but that can be seen as false. This is because, cold temperatures are actually better for the efficiency of the system than warmer ones. Also, it’s only visible light that matters in a solar power system, so the misconception that you need warm, sunny light on the panels can be put to bed.
Light: There’s no getting away from the fact there is less sunlight in the winter season, but the extent to which it affects solar performance might be less than you think. Depending on the amount of cloud cover, the reduced daylight hours might see your capacity dip by around 40%, however this is still enough to draw power from the sun and your home.
So, do solar panels work in winter? The short answer is yes, they do.
Photovoltaic cells can still convert visible light into energy during winter, although fewer daylight hours might cause a slight dip in capacity.
Hero Renewables are a national, award winning company enabling communities and business to aid the UK’s transition to a green economy. Sharing our expert knowledge and renewable systems with you, ensuring your home or business stays warm, cosy and energy efficient with renewable energy.
Give our team a call on 0808 222 0 111 and cut out the guesswork for a solar system on your property by arranging a consultation with one of our solar experts. We’ll talk you through all the options available and how to get the most out of your system – all year round!