Solar Panels in winter, do they get enough sunlight?
The summer here in Spain offers perfect conditions for a solar power (photovoltaic) system: the days long, bright and warm with sunlight bathing the peninsula from one end to the other. And whilst the southern coast of Spain receives an average of 320 days of sun each year, this does not apply in other areas of the country. So during the winter months, the solar situation can be a little different and we’re sure many of you want to know how efficient a solar system is in winter.
During winter, the sun is lower, which of course slightly reduces the angle of incidence and therefore inevitably can affect the solar energy performance. However, not to the extent you may think!
Solar panels generate their energy from sunlight, of course, but it doesn’t need to be very powerful for the panels to generate electricity either. In winter, they can still absorb sunlight even if the sky is cloudy or they are in partial shade. Solar panels are comprised of photovoltaic cells that react to the UV rays from the sun and transform it into electricity. Each cell is made up of conduction materials from silicon, which is highly reactive to solar energy.
Are solar panels really efficient during the winter?
It may seem ironic, but photovoltaic systems are actually slightly more efficient in cold climates because extreme heat can reduce the working temperature of the solar panels.
When conditions are warmer, there can rarely be the possibility of energy leakage. In short, the mild winters with clear skies we enjoy in Spain are actually ideal for producing solar energy!
What happens if there is snow on the solar panels?
If there is snow on the solar panels, it means that the sun has to penetrate another layer to reach them. Therefore, to generate as much energy as possible, the panels must be kept free of snow.
Sometimes this is not so easy. In addition, climbing onto the roof of a house always involves a certain risk and should be left to an expert, especially in winter. Safety first!
However, even with a thin layer of snow of up to 1 centimetre, a certain amount of sunlight can filter through to the solar panels. Also, if the panels are installed at the right angle, thicker layers of snow will naturally melt and slide down their slope.
How can consumption be balanced?
There is a way to balance the cost throughout the year. Thanks to the good weather in summer, you are likely to generate more than enough electricity during this season. Therefore, the most common solution is to sell surplus electricity from your solar panels in summer and buy additional electricity from the grid in winter. In this way, there is an economic balance.
We are sure that the answers to these questions have helped you to make a decision regarding solar panels. Do you have more questions? Do you want to install a photovoltaic system on your roof?
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