Though solar panels’ efficiency and weather have a strong connection, but not the way the common people think. Solar panels simply absorb energy from the light of the sun, the heat of the sun has no concern with providing energy. That is why solar panels can produce energy even below the freezing temperature. Moreover, the cold temperature can optimize the efficiency of solar panels, as other electronic devices work better when they are at cold or normal temperatures.
Now the question is what can cause a decrease in the efficiency of solar panels in winter? The answer is snow. Normally when it snows in winter, the solar panels are covered in heavy snow. As a result, they cannot absorb enough energy to work at maximum capacity. They produce less energy and the owner thinks it is happening due to cold weather. It is completely wrong, he only needs to remove the snow the get maximum energy.
Working of solar panels:
When sunlight hits the solar panels, the energy level of electrons present in photovoltaic cells increases. They start moving from the positive layer to the negative layer of the cells. As a result, they produce a difference in voltage, which creates current. This current is transferred out of solar panels through wires.
The current produces by the photovoltaic cells is a direct current (Flowing from the positive to the negative terminal in a single direction). It should be converted to an alternative current (the current in which electrons keep changing direction) for use in houses and industry.
The cold temperature of winter stops the solar panels to attain their highest temperature. In minor cases, solar panels can attain the highest temperature in winter. Once they cross their peak temperature, the production of energy starts decreasing. The optimum temperature for solar panels is less than 25 degree Celsius. Solar panels lose the capacity of generating energy above this temperature.
You can store the extra energy produced in peak hours to use at night. You need a solar battery storage system to store the extra energy. At night, your connection will be automatically transferred to the batteries. You will not face any cut-off of electricity.
Effect of rain on solar panels:
There are many areas in the world that experience heavy rains throughout the year. They may not have bright sunny days. But those areas still have sunlight in the daytime. This sunlight is though not very bright but has the energy that solar panels need. The temperature is low which is favorable for solar panels. Hence, solar panels can absorb the available energy from sunlight to generate electricity. The level of energy production can vary depending on the thickness of the clouds.
There are two types of sunlight depending upon the traveling of radiation. The bright sunlight is one in which radiations travel straight to the ground and hit the solar panels with more power. Solar panels produce more energy from direct sunlight.
When it’s cloudy, the radiations are scattered due to particles. They cannot travel straight to the ground. It is called diffused sunlight. Solar panels cannot absorb full energy from the diffused sunlight, so produce less energy. But the point to remember is they still produce energy and deficiency decreases only to a little extent, depending upon the quantity of light and quality of solar panels.
Effect of snow on solar panels:
People mostly ask, do solar panels work in the snow? Let’s elaborate on this fact.
The simple answer to the question is “YES”, but how. The layer of snow on the solar panels cannot stop the light to penetrate the surface of the solar panels. The radiations of solar energy activate the electrons of photovoltaic cells. They start revolving in a direction to produce voltage difference to produce current. The extent of light reaching the solar panels depend on the thickness of snow on the surface of the solar panels. A thicker layer can cause a high decrease in efficiency. But the good news is it’s not hard to clean the snow from the surface. All you need is a long squeegee to remove the snow.
Another effect is called the “Albedo Effect”, in which snow works as a mirror in clear weather after snow. As result, solar panels get more sunlight and become more efficient.
What do solar panels do in cold weather states?
Solar energy is a proven, cost-effective energy solution in northern climates, according to research across winter locations. The top 10 states with solar installations in 2018 were Massachusetts and New Jersey. New York was among the top ten states for solar installations in 2019, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Even Alaska and American institutions like McMurdo Station in Antarctica utilize solar power.
To get the most from solar, your home does not need to be in California, Arizona, or Florida. Solar panels constantly and unequivocally show that they can produce power in cold and snowy environments.
Solar battery storage during winter storms:
The grid could not withstand similarly during winter storms as solar panels. During the winter, power outages can happen often, sometimes leaving people in the dark and the cold for days. Even though a record number of Americans are staying at home due to the pandemic, it is getting more and harder to endure the next storm without dependable backup power due to rising global temperatures and an increase in extreme weather occurrences.
Installing a rooftop solar panel system that is grid-connected and has battery storage can provide you with clean and renewable backup electricity so you can get through the next power outage. Solar panels are highly durable in the face of severe weather. You may reserve your sunny days for a stormy day by combining your panels with a solar battery.
Most of the questions related to the effects of weather conditions on the efficiency of solar panels are mostly covered above. The story, in a nutshell, is, solar panels are the best solution for getting green energy around the year without getting affected by weather conditions. Weather conditions cannot affect the solar panels but to a very little extent.