There’s a common misconception that solar panels don’t work well during winter. The reality is that they work just as well, if not better, during winter as they do in summer. Solar panels also work to keep your electric rates stable and act as a load control mechanism for your utility, especially during periods of peak power demands when outside temperatures are very hot or bitter cold.
Let’s take a deeper look into how this works and why a solar panel system is an advantage during winter.
Solar Panels Operate Efficiently During Cold Weather
As with many other electrical devices, solar panels operate more efficiently in sunny, colder temperatures. This actually improves electrical output, which helps offset the shorter periods of sunlight during winter. Solar panels also operate during cloudy days that are sometimes more common during winter. They may not operate at peak efficiency, but they do not stop producing power because the sun’s ultraviolet light penetrates through the cloud layer. That’s why it doesn’t get completely dark during cloudy days and why a solar panel system can continue producing power.
Snow And Solar Panel Systems
Most of the time, snow isn’t a problem for a solar panel system. Even a light dusting doesn’t usually affect output. In fact, snow actually helps solar power production. Because it is white, snow reflects light and concentrates it onto your system evenly, assuming your panels are clear. However, if snow is allowed to accumulate, it can reduce the amount of energy your solar panels produce. The determining factor is when and how heavy it snows.
If the snowfall occurs during the day when solar panels are able to produce energy, there’s a good chance it won’t be able to accumulate because the panels will be warm enough to melt it. However, sometimes the snowfall is soo heavy, it will accumulate anyway and cover your system. Also, if it snows during the evening after your solar panels have cooled down, accumulation is possible.
If snowfall does cover your solar panel system, it can easily be removed with an extended pole and a non-abrasive brush. You could also buy a special tool online or at your local home improvement store to accomplish this task. Remember to be safe and don’t take any unnecessary risks. If you’re not comfortable or able to remove the snow covering safely, you can always wait for it to melt and use the power from the electric grid as your main energy source. Choose the option that works best for you.
How Home Solar Panels Help Your Electric Utility
In most states, when you install a home solar panel system, it is connected to the electric grid via the service connection already on your home. This allows you to sell any excess power your system produces back to the utility through a process called net metering.
Net metering benefits your utility because it provides a source of additional electricity that they don’t have to spend the money to produce by building a power plant and purchasing the fuel to operate it. In addition, it also helps offset increased demand during the summer and winter months when temperatures can get very hot or cold for extended periods. This helps offset any additional power they may have to purchase at an increased price on the open market during these periods. It can also be included in the utility’s load management program that is designed to avoid peak demand situations by shaving load. Again, this is at no cost to the utility to implement.
So, how does this help you? It helps by keeping your utility’s electric rates stable. Whenever your power provider spends money on additional electricity during peak periods or on power plants, fuel and load management programs, those costs get passed onto their customers and that means rate increases for everyone.
In fact, the value that solar provides to your electric utility is soo great that some independent sources are calling for an increase in the price your utility pays you for the excess power your solar panel system produces. Popular Mechanics recently wrote an article that examined these benefits and concluded that the value solar provides electric utilities is higher than what they are currently paying for your excess power. This was based on an in-depth, scientific study conducted by Koami Soulemane Hayiboa and Joshua M. Pearce of the Michigan Technological University that recommended state regulatory bodies mandate an increase in the rate your utility pays for your excess solar energy because it is unfairly subsidizing your electric utility in soo many ways.
Given the fact that solar panel systems operate efficiently in cold weather conditions and benefit your electric utility by helping keep rates stable and demand manageable during peak periods, there is no reason to believe that solar panels don’t work well during the winter. In fact, they are an excellent way to save money, save energy and help your community year-round.
So, why wait? Call Shine today at 844-80-SHINE or visit our website at www.shinesolar.com and let us show you how easy it is to virtually eliminate your electric bill and become energy independent with your own solar panel system.
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