Solar panels work in winter too – surprised?
“UK householders still have reservations about the effectiveness of solar panels in the UK climate.”
The UK on average experiences around 48% overcast days per year. So does this mean solar panels are useless in the winter months?
No, says Stuart Lovatt from Heat my Home. A good solar panel system will still contribute on most cloudy days in Britain. This is a common mis-conception, brought about from the early clunky years of solar when technology was young.
I wouldn’t have got on a plane with the Wright brothers, but modern airplanes with new technology have become everyday life. The same is now happening with solar panels.
Both types of solar panels (solar heating and PV solar) still harvest sufficient scattered light caused by cloud cover and still contribute to a home’s energy needs. Production figures vary depending on cloud density, but as an example, electricity production can reach about 20% of what can be achieved on a brighter sunny summers day than cloudy overcast days. This is still a decent amount of free energy.
The big question during our current cold snap is whether solar panels will work in the snow? If you look at any southerly facing roof after a snowfall, the snow very quickly disappears. The energy which went into melting that snow is the same energy which will power your panels.
Self cleaning solar panels
A good quality panel is covered with a thin film coating that allows rain water, dirt and snow flow smoothly off the surface, however, during a prolonged heavy snow period with several layers accumulated, your solar panels will become inactive till until the snow stops falling.
Ultimately, snow in most parts of the UK may still quite rare and producing energy during the winter months can still be achieved using modern solar technologies.
The position of your solar panels is important, therefore, the best position of your panels is as close to south facing as possible avoiding shading by buildings or trees. This can be determined by one of our home surveys with a free no obligation quotation.
"Feel the pride."Stuart Lovatt December 8, 2010
Founder of Heat My Home.