Will the shorter days of winter affect how productive solar panels are? That’s one of our frequently asked questions from people who are considering a solar panel installation this time of the year.
Solar electricity and long days with intense sunshine intuitively seem to go together, and it’s true they do. Sunny climates like ours here in Central Texas have optimal conditions for making use of the sun’s bounty as a cost-effective source of clean, renewable energy.
However, solar as an energy source is growing across the US, including places like New York, Boston and Seattle. Improvements in technology make going solar more attractive even in less than ideal climates. One of the world’s leaders in solar energy production is Germany – a country with sunshine days roughly equivalent to Seattle, but with a huge commitment to clean energy.
This also means that today’s solar panels are productive throughout the Texas winter. When days are shorter and temperatures are cooler, a well designed and installed solar panel system remains productive. Cooler temperatures tend to enhance solar panel productivity because the chemical reaction that converts light to energy is more efficient at cooler temperatures. This higher efficiency works to balance the effect of shorter periods of sunlight.
Did you know that even a snowy day can be a productive day for solar panels? Because the panels are converting light to energy, a bright, sunny day following a snow storm can be highly productive. Of course, the panels need to be free of snow to take advantage of the opportunity.
To take advantage of this benefit and keep saving money all winter long, you need to pay attention to these areas:
Have you cleaned your panels of all debris, like last fall’s leaves, pine needles, etc.? If not, plan to do that (or have it done) as soon as possible. Also trim any overhanging branches and git rid of anything that might obstruct the maximum amount of sunlight from reaching your panels.
Are your panels properly adjusted to take advantage of the available light? Taking care of this is a top priority if you want your panels to be as productive as possible this winter.
Minimize the amount of electricity you use by adjusting thermostats, using energy efficient lightbulbs and manage use of appliances wisely.
Your productive solar panels are an investment that will continue to produce a return year in and year out. Want to know more? Schedule a consultation today.