During the summer, solar panel production can produce significant energy thanks to the long sunny days. But during the winter months, daylight hours are shorter, and it can be considerably cloudy and cold in many states across the U.S.A.
Solar Power Generation Summer vs Winter
If you’re considering solar panels, you may wonder about seasonal solar panel performance and if solar panels in cold climates can produce enough solar energy during winter months. Many inherently think of hot summer climates when considering a home solar system. However, solar panels can generate solar energy during the winter too! Understanding the technology behind a rooftop solar system helps demonstrate how solar panels perform well even in winter.
How Solar Panels Work – Heat vs. Daylight
Solar energy works by harnessing the sun’s energy and turning it into electricity. Solar cells (or photovoltaic PV cells), convert the sunlight directly into electricity, creating direct current (DC) electricity, which then travels to an inverter and converts this energy into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is used in your home.
In general, your home solar system production will be lower in winter months than in summer months. However, the difference in production may not be as extreme as you think!
Solar panels do not rely on heat from a sunny day to produce electricity. In actuality, colder temperatures can help improve the performance of solar cells production (PV Performance). Solar panels only need sunlight to produce electricity, therefore, unless your solar system is blocked by shade from trees or snow, it will continue to absorb energy during a sunny day – even in the winter.
The Effects of Snow on Solar Panels
A quality residential solar system is built to last over 25 years. When choosing a rooftop solar system, remember that premium-grade panels are fully tested to operate year-round, and withstand extreme weather conditions. For instance, snowfall should not damage solar panels because they are tested to endure freezing temperatures and bear the weight of heavy amounts of snow or debris.
If mounted correctly and installed by certified technicians, solar panels are designed to handle a certain amount of snow, rain, and hail. Your solar panels should resist corrosion, impact, and extreme shifts in the weather. Considering that people drive on solar panels, the weight of the snow will not be an issue!
Solar Panel Snow Removal
Solar panels are smooth and often installed on a tilted roof surface, so snow will naturally melt and slide off of them. We recommend you move cars, patio furniture, and other items that may get damaged by the impact of the snow falling off your roof since it may slide off in large sheets. As a precaution, you can also install snow guards to prevent large amounts of snow from falling at once and to protect the areas below the edge of your roof.
Sunnova’s Production Monitoring and 25-Year Warranty
When investing in a solar system, it’s important for homeowners to understand their home solar warranty and maintenance agreement terms. Sunnova home solar service and Sunnova SunSafe® solar + battery storage service comes with our Sunnova Protect™ 25-year system coverage featuring worry and hassle-free maintenance, monitoring, repairs, and replacements. And, in some markets, we offer an energy guarantee where we commit your system will produce the amount of energy outlined in your agreement or we will refund or credit you the difference. Our Sunnova Protect™ plan safeguards your home solar investment to help ensure it performs to its maximum potential.
If you live in a part of the country like New York or New Jersey that contends with snowstorms and/or extreme weather conditions during winter months, having 25-year system coverage comes in handy. Having the peace of mind that your solar system performance is being monitored 24/7 to detect insufficient solar generation, helps makes sure that your solar panels will perform, rain or shine.
Energy guarantee not available for Easy Save Monthly plan. Energy guarantee is not available in Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Saipan.