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Is winter the enemy of solar power?

Is winter the enemy of solar power?

Short answer: no. Solar panels are installed in all climates around the world. It is common to think that solar panels are best suited to hot sunny climates (like Australia), but solar panels can actually perform better in cooler temperatures.

Here are some interesting facts about solar panels and winter so we can hopefully dispel some myths about this technology:

Do solar panels work in winter?

Yes! In fact even if it’s cloudy solar panels still produce electricity. Because solar panels work by converting light, not heat, the season doesn’t actually affect production. Of course winter days have less sunlight hours which is what mainly affects production.

What about snow?

Not that many places in Australia experience heavy snowfall, but solar panels don’t usually build up snow as the angle they are set at negates build up. Only the heaviest of blizzards would have any affect, and even then only for the duration.

What about large changes in temperature?

Some of the first generation of solar panels did experience damage due to large temperature changes. These inefficiencies are a thing of the past – solar technology has improved a great deal and this environmental effect is no longer a concern.

What if it is cloudy for months where I live?

Some of the leading countries for solar are typically cloudy countries. Take Germany, a typically cloudy country that produces 20% of its energy from solar and where in 2013 solar PV plants covered 50% of peak demand during the day.

How can I see my winter solar power generation potential?

The Australian PV Institute has lots of maps and tools to help you estimate your solar PV potential:

You can search your postcode and see what others in your area are generating, or look Australia wide. To cut a long story short though, no matter where you are in Australia you will be able to generate enough solar power to run your home. That’s another advantage of living in “a sunburnt country”!


Filed under: fun facts, solar


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