Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?
While the bomb cyclone storm of 2018 hammered the East Coast with record snow—and epic wind blew through the Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas this January—the solar panels in the area were hard at work. Despite the cold temperatures, they converted the sunny skies into solar energy to heat buildings all over the metro area and beyond.
The move to using solar power for primary or auxiliary power has been slow going, but it’s catching on. Low-cost and high-quality power is hard to come by, and installing solar panels is one of the best ways to get the job done. But there are still some concerns that keep many businesses away. One of the biggest? This question: “Do solar panels work in the winter?”
Worried that your new panels won’t be able to keep up come the colder months? Follow along with the KEVCO Building Service experts while we discuss why they will!
How Do Panels Perform in the Winter?
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the use of solar panels is that they won’t work when it’s cloudy or that they won’t keep up come winter. This is not true. It’s because the panels don’t need any amount of warmth at all to work. They need light, and there’s still plenty of that to be had in the winter in DC and Maryland.
Even though there are record-breaking cold temperatures and extremely snowy conditions outside, as long as there is sunlight, your solar panels are producing energy. Solar panels actually tend to work better in wintertime, because cooler temperatures help boost solar panel energy.
Not all winter conditions are the same, and solar panels are built to endure seasonal changes in different areas of the country so that the panels perform optimally in each season. Residential thermal panels (the ones used to heat water for homeowners, typically) can have a little more trouble, but the panels people rely on for power (PV panels) work just fine as long as there is any light at all. For best results, choose a high-quality system that will stand up to your climate zone area.
Nights Can Be Problematic
The one thing that differs between seasons that can impact your solar power is that the daytime hours are shorter. Less sunlight equals less power. Whether or not this is a problem differs depending on your setup, but commercial solar power systems (and even residential ones) are installed to compensate for this in some way. Whether that be additional panel collectors or energy storage systems, in most cases, the shorter days won’t matter all that much. But it’s worth mentioning, and it’s absolutely worth planning around.
There are solar panel systems that are designed for maximum efficiency, which means they can produce more electricity, even in low-light conditions. Using high-quality, anti-reflective glass, solar panels trap light from all angles, capturing more sunlight than conventional panels. This helps your solar panel system make energy throughout a winter’s day, from sun up to sun down and even on cloudy days.
Maintenance Becomes More Important
The smooth, angled surface of a solar panel doesn’t allow much room for leaf or snow collection. But with the amount of snowfall, ice, and leaves in the early and late fall months that we experience, maintenance becomes vital. Blocked panels mean little or no power, so while the sun might be shining or behind a cloud or two, the 2” of snow coating the panel will stop power generation the same way a cracked panel would.
This means maintenance, and routine maintenance, is vitally important if you plan on getting the most from your solar systems during the winter. You should have panels professionally cleared and cleaned on a regular basis, or you will notice a difference in how well they operate.
Removing Snow from Solar Panels
As stated above, when solar panels are completely obstructed by snow—and even dirt and grime that has accumulated over time—they cannot produce energy nearly as well. It’s important that snow doesn’t remain on your panels to ensure your system can continue making electricity.
Fortunately, solar panels are generally designed to face south or southwest so that snow will quickly melt and slide off the solar panels on its own when the sun comes out. If there’s significant snow accumulation, however, manual removal may be the best option. Snow removal service will not in any way damage or disturb your building’s solar panels. There are special snow rakes and snow pushers specifically designed for solar panel snow removal that won’t damage your panels.
Solar panels are designed to work seamlessly and effectively in all seasons, but keeping the panels clean and snow free is paramount to their functionality. This is exactly why you need to hire exterior maintenance professionals for any type of snow or dirt removal from the solar panels. Always remember: safety first!
Solar Panel Cleaning & Maintenance with KEVCO in MD, DC & Northern VA
Looking for a team of certified experts to handle your solar panel cleaning and care this winter season? You just found KEVCO, and our services are all you’ll ever need. Our team is equipped with the best tools in the business, meaning we can keep your panels in top shape all year long without any fuss or stress.
Just contact us online or dial (301) 258-9750 for your quote or to schedule solar panel service now!