One of the biggest questions about solar power systems is how they perform in winter weather. Many people refuse to install solar panels because of the notion that they won’t work during the winter. This, however, simply isn’t true. While a solar array may perform differently in winter weather conditions, it will still perform well. Though the initial unease and confusion about how solar panels perform in the winter has its merits, apprehensive home and business owners should ask some questions before dismissing the possibility of switching to solar energy. For those who don’t know what questions to ask, here are the answers to some of the most common ones we receive:
Does a Solar Power System Work During the Winter?
Whether solar power systems work during the winter is a common concern for home and business owners. It’s also a common myth that they do not. There’s less sunlight during the winter, meaning solar panels generate and produce much less energy. In fact, the least amount of energy is produced from November to February – only 10% of annual production. However, because so much energy is produced from March to October, it’s saved or stored and sent to a power grid through net metering programs. Net metering, one of the greatest advantages of solar energy, basically converts stored excess generated energy into energy credits. Energy credits can later be withdrawn and used to help power a home in the winter or during times of less sunlight.
What About the Snow?
Fortunately, snow doesn’t adversely affect solar panels. Solar panels are designed to withstand heavy moisture and severe weather conditions, and panels are said to only lose an estimated three percent of the energy they produce due to snow. Since snow can’t damage solar panels or adversely affect energy production, there’s no need to remove or have it removed from the roof.
How Does the Snow Affect Panels Installed on a Flat Roof?
Flat roofs present a challenge to solar panel installation. A flat roof must be inspected by a structural engineer before the panels are installed. The purpose is to ensure the roof is structurally sound and capable of supporting the load of the panels and special equipment or structures, which usually consist of ballast blocks and racking. A roof that can’t support this load, obviously can’t support a load with snow on top. Although the panels can bear large loads, including snow, a weak roof may buckle under such heavy weight. Thus, snow should always be a consideration before installing panels on a flat roof.
If you have questions about how a solar array will perform in winter at your home or business, give us a call. No matter the weather, it’s always a good time to switch to solar energy! 1-877-539-4448