Keeping Solar Panels Working in Winter

rooftop solar panels covered with snow

Solar panels are gaining popularity in being a sustainable source of generating electricity, because of their capability to harness solar energy. While many countries and cities thrive on receiving ample sunlight to power hundreds of homes, some homes are cast into the shadow of darkness during winter. So is it possible to keep solar panels working in winter?

There is a misconception that photovoltaic (PV) panels need heat to transfer energy into electricity. It is actually light that mainly helps in this process. On a clear day, even the snow can reflect the light from the ground on the panel, creating extra electricity- called the ‘Albedo Effect‘. So keeping the panels working during winter is not an impossible task. With a few maintenance tips leading up to & during winter, you can keep your home powering sustainably throughout the cold season.

Clean Off the Snow

This can be difficult especially if you have your solar panels outside on the roof, but it is not impossible. Ideally, well-created PV panels have their dark reflective glass which helps melt off the snow faster. But during heavy snow days, it’s recommended that you lightly dust off the snow taking care not the scratch the surface.

Adjust the Panel Angle

The best part about having solar panels in cold weather countries is that you can adjust the installation racks, as they are needed for proper functioning and maintenance. They are typically tilted up at 30 to 45 degrees, so the panels don’t accumulate snow during a winter storm. It’s helpful so you don’t have to consistently dust off the snow.

Reduce Energy Usage

When you have done all the preparations necessary to ride out the winter season, you also need to prepare for the worst- which is a power outage. Heavy snowfall has the potential to affect your power source. During such times, having a backup generator using energy-efficient bulbs and even maintaining the thermostat instead of raising the temperature can conserve your energy used from the grid; saving you a large energy bill!

In conclusion, solar panels are not severely affected during cool winter conditions, but their production can decrease slightly. All you need to know is how to take certain precautions and maintain the panels for long-term use.