Solar PV: Does the system work during the wintertime?
One common question we hear often when it comes to solar PV is: “does the system work during the wintertime?” In a nut shell, yes, it does, making this a fantastic renewable energy source for all year round.
According to the UK government’s 2020 report, there are roughly 970,000 UK homes with solar panel installations, demonstrating that their popularity has increased dramatically over the last ten years. Let’s look at exactly how the system works during the colder months…
Solar cells rely on light, not heat
It’s a frequent misconception that solar panel cells need the heat from the sun to generate energy – this is not the case. Solar PV cells contain electrons that are activated when they’re hit by particles of light (protons). This energy is then converted into electricity within the cell, ready for your home to use.
So, you see, the temperature outside makes no difference to the performance of your Solar PV, because it’s not the temperature it depends on. This means the system can work perfectly fine in the wintertime. Of course, the sun is out for longer during the summer so the season does have its benefits there, but how hot or cold the day is has nothing to do with the energy your solar PV will generate.
In fact, the cooler the weather the better
As a credible solar PV installer ourselves, we’re best placed to blow your mind further with some more interesting facts. We’ve established that solar cells react to light and not heat; are you assuming that this means they still work best in the summertime? You would be wrong, if so.
The cooler the weather the better when it comes to how effective your solar panels are. In fact, too much heat can actually make the cells less efficient; a bright day, though cold, will produce more power than a bright day that’s hot. Who would have thought it?
Beware of snow
After preaching how good your Solar PV system can perform in the wintertime, it wouldn’t be fair of us not to warn you of the impact that snow can have… The truth is, a heavy layer of snow will block the sun’s rays from reaching the solar cells, so it will need removing at the earliest opportunity.
It’s important to keep in mind that although the UK is notorious for being cold, it only gets on average 23.7 days of snowfall or sleet a year. So, although the snow can hinder your solar panels’ performance, it really is nothing to worry about – the pros still far outweigh the cons. In fact, small amounts of snow should melt and slide off all by themselves, anyway!
Solar power does indeed work well in the wintertime, so don’t let the thought of the colder months put you off having them installed. While it’s true – and completely understandable – that solar PV does work more efficiently in the summer months, it is still an extremely useful source of renewable power all year round.