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Do solar panels still work in winter?
Do solar panels still work in winter?
17th December 2019

In a word – yes. We recognise that you might be after a bit more detail than that, though, so we’ll go into it here. After all, our British winter times are hardly the envy of the world, and most of us resign ourselves to months on end of rubbish weather. If you’ve taken the time and money to invest in commercial solar panels, this can be especially frustrating. Don’t be discouraged though! While the efficiency of solar panels is affected in winter, that doesn’t make them useless. Far from it – in some cases they can even be more efficient!

Snow problem

Right off the bat, this probably isn’t something you’ll have to worry about an awful lot here in the UK, as the relatively low chances of a white Christmas means it’s not a problem you’ll likely find yourself having to deal with. That’s just as well, because it can have a mixed effect on your solar panels. As a surprisingly positive effect, white snow can reflect light and improve the performance of your panels, but of course if too much falls directly onto them, it can block them from absorbing light entirely. That means it’s a good idea to make clearing them a priority as soon as it’s safe to do so. As we’ve said though, it’s an unlikely problem to deal with!

Cold isn’t bad for solar panels (in fact, it might even be good for them!)

While it’s true that solar panels tend to perform best in brighter, warmer summer months, the ‘bright’ aspect is the more important of the two. In fact, heat isn’t nearly as much of a crucial factor as people often think. The big thing is light, and as long as your solar panels are getting light throughout winter, they won’t stop producing energy. Cold can even be better for your solar panels – channelling light and creating energy creates heat, and chillier weather can help to take the edge off that, making them more efficient. Other than that, temperature isn’t really all that relevant to how well your solar panels perform – which is always good news!

Snow-on-Solar-Panels

Keeping it light

We’ve just briefly touched on how important light is for solar panels, so we won’t sugarcoat it for you – yes, they are indeed less efficient in winter. You’ve probably already guessed some of the most pivotal reasons why. The skies are overcast far more often, and when the sun does come up, its appearance is briefer and lower in the sky than it is in the summer months. That means less direct sunlight hitting your panels, for lower amounts of time. Ultimately, that can lead their efficiency rating to drop by 40% (or more), but crucially, this doesn’t mean they stop generating energy.

So, is there any point in installing solar panels?

At first, the British weather might seem like it doesn’t put UK businesses in a great position for solar panels, but that’s not to say they’re an unworthy investment. Various pitches and falls throughout the year are part and parcel of solar panels, and they’re factors that we take into account when designing your system – our job is to ensure it’s meeting your requirements all year round. For that reason, we always take the long view with any installation, and we’d encourage you to do the same!

If you’ve got any further questions you’d like us to specifically address, or any queries about the creation or maintenance of your particular system, one of our experts will be happy to help out. Just give us a call on 01282 421 489, or email us using the details on our contact form. We’re here to help!

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