Will snow and cold weather affect Solar PV panels?

Solar PV panels can be used to provide electricity or hot water to your home, and are a very efficient source of renewable energy. As well as reducing bills, solar PV panels can also earn you money through the government’s Feed-In Tariff which pays home owners for the electricity they produce. The energy you do … Read more

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Solar PV panels can be used to provide electricity or hot water to your home, and are a very efficient source of renewable energy. As well as reducing bills, solar PV panels can also earn you money through the government’s Feed-In Tariff which pays home owners for the electricity they produce. The energy you do not use can be sold back to the grid.

Solar PV works best when hit with direct sunlight, but the panels will still produce electricity on overcast days, only on a lesser scale. The panels will function best in direct sunlight in weather of less than 30 degrees Celsius.

What effect will cold weather have on Solar PV panels?

Although the panels will work best in warmer weather and on clearer days, cold weather will not have too adverse an effect on them at all. Cloud cover can reduce the Photovoltaic (PV) array energy absorption of your panels by 50% or more, but this will not prevent electricity production completely. Well-made panels will cope well with regional British weather throughout the year, whether it snows heavily in the winter or grows uncommonly hot during the summer. The panels should suffer no damage due to cold temperatures, wind, rain, ice, or snow.

What effect will snow have on Solar PV panels?

On the odd occasion that we are hit with very severe snow in the UK, the performance of the panels will likely be hindered mostly as the snow falls due to the cloudiness of the sky. Once the snow has ceased to fall, however, it is likely that the panels themselves will remain clear and able to absorb energy. This is because solar PV panels retain some of the heat they absorb, which melts the snow before it can properly set. Where a thin layer of snow remains, the effect on the panels’ efficiency will be minimal as light will continue to reach the surface, and where panels are situated on sloping roofs, the snow is likely to fall off due to the angle at which the panels are installed. In cases where a thick layer of snow is obstructing the panels’ efficiency it is of course possible to clear the snow away by hand. Additionally, the snowfall on the ground may in fact be beneficial to the panels as  it reflects light back towards the panels.

Find out more about cleaning your solar PV panels here.

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