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Is Solar Power Of Any Use During Harsh Winter Months?

Solar power is evergreen if that is the correct expression. No matter the season, or weather conditions, these are always functional, according to the experts. But there are a lot of myths surrounding the efficiency of solar panels. As these panels work on the sunlight, which is the strongest during summer, many people are under the assumption that they may not be so efficient during the winter months. But these people are not also at fault thinking that solar is most powerful during summer. Many advertisements and even companies spread the message constantly that the best time to go solar is during spring or summer. It is a wrong marketing message that confuses potential buyers. Hence. in this post, we are going to reveal the truth of solar power in Colorado or elsewhere, and its efficiency during winter. Scroll on! 

Do you live in Denver, Aurora, or any place in the South-Western US? You will then know that the winter weather can be quite unpredictable at times. Chills and snow are quite common in the areas like Fort Collins, Arvada, Colorado Springs, etc. In fact, Arvada gets more than 60 inches of snow annually, while Fort Collins gets an average of 48 inches. Homeowners think that solar power efficiency, that is the electricity they produce, gets lower during these harsh winter months covered in snow. But it’s not the case. Solar power technology is independent of weather changes. If you know the science behind this technology, you will understand the real scenario. 

The science behind solar power

The sun’s rays are composed of millions of photons. These photons, when they hit the solar panels, the photovoltaic cells, to be precise, the electrons in the cells are charged up, producing a current that is carried over to your home’s power box. From there, it goes to the individual appliances, or electric items installed in your home, providing electricity. If you have a solar battery, you can even store this electricity for use at night or during adverse conditions, when the entire power grid goes down due to some reason. 

Hence, it is clear that the sun’s light is what actually charges up the solar panels, and not its heat. In the winter months, you still get sunlight. It can be less warm, but it is there. So, there is no evide3nce to suggest that your solar panels will not be functional during colder months. However, if it is cloudy or snowing, there can be a slight difference in the amount of electricity produced by the solar panels in summer. But unlike the poles, you will still be getting the sunlight, however, diminished. The truth is quite simple here. You need not worry about electricity generation through solar panels, as long as the sun’s rays are hitting them. 

Now, experts have a deeper insight into the functionality of solar panels during the colder months of the year. Electrons have a special characteristic; they tend to be less in motion at cooler temperatures. In winter, when these electrons are hit by sunlight, they accelerate faster, thus producing more energy. So, you can say that, unlike the popular view, solar panels are more efficient during the winter months when there is sunlight. Further, solar panels rarely reach their peak performance level during winter. Hence, you can get consistent power. 

Do you feel a little bit relieved now? 

Don’t worry, we have more to open your eyes to the immense power of solar during winter, summer, or any other season for that matter. 

What happens when snow accumulates on the panels?

Most of the time, the accumulated snow can be blown off by the wind. Or the sunlight can scatter through the coating and reach the panels. But if there is a lot of accumulation on the panels, you may need to clear it. Or let the snow slide down even a little, so that the sunlight can reach the panels, and electricity can be generated again. However, a photovoltaic system’s structure also matters here. Most of the time, the solar panels are supported by frames that lead to the formation of microcracks by excessive loading of snow. If the frame is not there, the snow easily slides off, giving the panels access to sunlight. Without these frames, solar power can also become a more cost-effective option for people living in colder regions. 

One needs to note here that accumulated snow on the solar panels is nothing to cause you to worry or concern. In fact, they can help clean the module. Don’t you get it? well, have you observed when snow accumulates on the windshields of cars? When they slide off, they take all dirt and dust with them, thus rendering the area clean. Many researchers are also wondering how the packaging and installation stuff can create a difference in harsh climatic conditions. If they become successful in their research, the solar panels will be available at a much lower cost, and more reliability and effectiveness. 

Now, coming to the rains, it is also quite common in mid-winter in places in or around Colorado. Homeowners also assume that heavy rainfall can affect the performance of their solar panels. Let us explain why this is a myth. 

Do the panels work during rain?

If the sun is there, they will work. The clouds and rain cause diffused sunlight, but it is still there. What is the difference between straight rays and diffused light? Well, the sunlight that hits directly causes the electrons to vibrate faster. On the other hand, diffused light is the light scattered by several items in the atmosphere, and its intensity is a bit lower when it reaches the earth. But there is no reason to believe that this light cannot help the panels produce electricity. The amount may differ, depending on the density of cloud cover in some cases, but electricity will be generated nonetheless. Instead, the rain may clean the surface of the panels, thus increasing their efficiency. 

Consider investing in solar batteries

If you still want more electricity from renewable energy, you can always invest in a high-quality solar battery. It will provide you with the backup power you may need in an emergency. It will ensure a consistent source of clean energy during adverse weather, snow, rain, or power blackouts. 

Then there is also net metering. You do not have to depend on regular energy generation from solar panels. The credits you receive from your utility system by sending excess energy to the grid in summer can be counted on for rainy and stormy days (metaphorically). Say when there is a blizzard or heavy rainfall, you can use that energy for your day-to-day activities seamlessly. 

The experts also feel that one should not clean the panels after a heavy snowfall manually. It may increase the chances of damage or even personal injuries. Let the snow slide off the roofing by itself or melt in the morning. One or two days will not affect your lifestyle, as you will be getting power from stored energy. 

Final words

Thus, you may now have more clarity regarding the efficiency of solar panels in winter. Instead of believing in myths and incomplete truths, it is better to talk with an expert in the matter. You can find a solar power contractor in Fort Collins, Aurora, Arvada, or elsewhere in Colorado and ask them everything you need to know. A reliable professional will never turn you down or force you into anything. Just clarify your doubts and decide if installing solar panels on your property is worth it. 

At Energy Advantage Roofing & Solar, you can get in touch with our expert solar power contractors, who can give you a deeper insight into the benefits of solar panels and their efficiency. They can also provide you with all the knowledge and details of solar panel functionalities throughout the year. Lastly, they are thoroughly updated with the latest developments in solar power technologies, so that you can take a wise decision. Is there any reason to wait? Contact us!