How Does Winter Affect Solar Panels in Canada?


Author – Gridworks

Sever winter and snow is a part of life in countries like Canada. Although it’s a great time for winter sports like hockey, it may not be the best time to manage solar panels.

Thunderstorms, blizzards, ice storms, and high winds are typical in winter. If you are using an off-grid solar system, you might wonder how this winter phenomenon affect solar panels in Canada. Here, we provide you some peace of mind by busting myths and misconceptions about your solar panels’ performance in winter.

How Winter Affects Solar Panels in Canada

Solar Panels with snow on it. Courtesy – Gutter Helmet

Yes, winter can affect solar panels, but not as much as many people may think. There’s a misconception that solar panels stop functioning during snowy weather. Solar panels can still do their job even in the winter. It’s because solar panels convert sunlight (not heat) into electricity. So as long as there’s reflected light, they can still produce electricity.

During winter, solar panels can still generate electricity, but there may be a decrease in output due to snow and shorter sunlight. An interesting fact is that solar panels are more efficient in colder temperatures. It means that colder climates can help optimize your solar panel efficiency. In contrast, when the temperature gets too high, the efficiency of solar panels declines, so some countries have installed sophisticated cooling systems to boost performance.

Winter months are usually a good time to install solar panels because the demand for them is at the lowest. However, this doesn’t mean the panels themselves will be any cheaper. It’s crucial to learn the effect of cold weather on PV systems if you plan to mount your solar panels on the ground.

Science Behind Solar Panels and Winter

It’s fascinating to know how solar panels perform better during colder months. Even in the coldest places in Canada, a massive dent in the output is quite a rare occurrence. A study shows that snow-clearing solar panels produce less electricity than clean panels. So, what’s the science behind this?

Solar panels have PV (photovoltaic) technology that converts sunlight into electricity. Surprisingly, this light-capturing technology is more effective during the winter. Solar panels can catch more sunlight throughout the day thanks to the reflected sunrays off the snow—this albedo effect on solar panels causes higher energy output.

Further, remember that solar panels operate at temperatures higher than ambient. When sunlight penetrates the snow, even if some parts of the panels are covered, it can accelerate the melting process and generate electrons. Electrons in the silicon, on the other hand, will start activating. The movement of electrons within a battery generates electricity. They then travel to your home’s electric distribution box to power your appliances. The excess energy will stay in the system’s rechargeable solar batteries for later use.

Like many electronic devices, solar panels work best in cooler temperatures. According to research, a solar panel can reach its maximum performance in temperatures around 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 250C. Once the ambient temperature rises above that peak, solar panel performance decreases. Thankfully, solar panels are less likely to reach their peak power output in the winter because temperatures are much colder.

Solar Panel Maintenance During Winter

Cleaning solar panels with soap water

There are a few simple ways to maintain your solar panels. You can clean them with a soft brush if they’re in an accessible location or you could tilt them upon installation so debris and snow can easily slide off. If your solar panels are tilted, you don’t need to clean them as often. A soft brush can do the trick to keep them working optimally.

Further, you need to adjust them to match the sun’s inclination during the winter for better efficiency. Experts advise reducing solar energy use during the winter or using traditional electricity. Although it is possible to do some maintenance on your solar panels during the winter, we recommend that you get expert help because of the high physical risk and the system’s vulnerability.

Gridworks Energy Solar Installation in Canada

While solar panels are most productive in sunny seasons, that doesn’t mean they won’t be effective in winter. Remember that the total sunlight your solar panel receives annually is the most important. Solar energy is still a viable investment, even in polar regions. Choosing the right system and solar equipment will prepare you for possible winter weather problems.

If you are considering solar panel installation, be prepared for some paperwork and bureaucratic hassle. However, hiring a reputable solar installer can mitigate the problem. Gridworks Energy is a pioneering solar panel contractor in Edmonton, Canada.

Our team of specialists will take care of every part of your solar project and will be there for you every step of the way. We offer solar installation anywhere in Edmonton, producing 100% renewable energy. Our system guarantees to help you get the most out of your solar power system despite the Western Canadian climate. Schedule an examination today and see how simple and profitable going solar can be, no matter the season!

Author bio – A guest blogger has contributed this advertorial

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