PV solar panels work in winter too – surprised?

Last updated on October 9th, 2017 at 05:39 pm

“UK householders still have reservations about the effectiveness of solar panels in the UK climate.”

Game changing solar panels and installations.

Game changing solar panels and installations.

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 misconception, 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 aeroplanes 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 rainwater, 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."
December 8, 2010
Founder of Power My Home.

  • Tim Maton

    I am glad you have written this post. I was unsure this was true. I recently had visits from some solar companies telling me this was the case but to be honest, didn’t really believe them. I have to say though despite my misgivings, all three companies were fab. I have heard some horror stories on forums but the guys at affordable energy, new future (i think!) and solatricity were very amenable. And as it turns out were telling me the truth!!