Posted: Wednesday, 12/20/17 @ 8pm EST
We often receive questions about how solar panels produce energy when it’s cold and snowing. We wanted to take the time to discuss the performance of solar panels during New England winters. So, put on your snow boots and remember – the sun will melt the snow right off those solar panels!
The New England winter is here, so what does that mean for solar production? Will solar panels stop producing solar energy to power homes and businesses? The easy answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! Solar energy is produced from sunlight – not heat. In fact, solar panels are known to perform better in colder temperatures. Solar panels, whether rooftop or ground-mounted, will be at an angle. Anytime the sun hits them, the solar panels produce energy. In the winter, sun position is lower than other times of the year and this allows solar panels to soak up as much energy as possible.
Solar panels are designed to withstand hundreds of pounds – and as much snow as Massachusetts generates, even during those harsh winters. Solar panels have two great characteristics to rid themselves of snow without your intervention – they heat up a bit from the sun hitting them and producing energy and they’re at an angle. So, what happens on those dark days when it snows? Once the sun comes out, the snow melts, and voilà, you’re back to producing solar energy to power your home.
Keep in mind – when it’s gloomy outside, and especially when it’s gloomy and snowing, your solar energy production will be minimal to non-existent, and snow will accumulate on your solar panels. However, once the sun comes out, all of that goes away and, again, you’re back to producing your own energy!
As mentioned above, solar panels are built with smooth surfaces to allow the snow to melt off. Our recommendation – WAIT! The snow will melt and fall off – there is no need to clean them off; some companies will recommend sweeping them, but you run the risk of scratching the glass surface. We definitely do not recommend raking, as it could scratch the surface of your solar panels. If you have any questions regarding productivity and maintenance costs of solar panels, you can refer to our blog post discussing these topics.
So even though the days are shorter, the temperature is lower, and you might think the snow is blocking the sun – you’re still producing energy if you have solar panels! The winter months are one of the best times to go solar – we offer free estimates to anyone interested in going solar. Our Solar Consultants will meet with you to discuss your solar potential and answer any questions. As mentioned in our previous blog post, Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) are ending soon and we expect the SMART Program to begin between March and July 2018 and not be as lucrative as the prior program.
We hope everyone has an extremely sunny holiday season! We wish you the best in the new year!