Does solar work in winter? The short answer is yes!
Do solar panels even work in the winter?
Solar panels use light, not heat, so you can get solar-powered energy all year long. Have you ever been sunburned on a cloudy day? Solar works the same way; the ambient light that caused the sunburn also powers your home when it hits your panels. Less daylight and more overcast weather mean that the panels won’t produce as much as they do in the summer, but a carefully designed solar energy system can power your home or business even through the bleak winter weather. On top of that, net metering allows you to accumulate credits for the excess energy your panels produce during the summer that you can use during the dark winter months.
Won’t the cold temperatures impact panel production?
There’s a longstanding myth that solar panels produce more energy during the summer because it’s the hottest time of year. Actually, it’s because the days are longer, not hotter. In fact, the colder winter temperatures actually improve solar panel efficiency. Certainly, there's less direct sunlight on overcast days, but the daylight that breaks through the clouds hits panels that work more efficiently than they do during summer.
How will snow affect my solar panels?
Believe it or not, snow can actually positively impact your solar panel output. Production will decrease if panels are covered with snow, of course, but snow reflects light, which can improve the panels’ output. Snow also cleans your panels of the grime that can collect on them throughout the year.
What if the snow isn’t melting?
We don’t recommend removing snow from your solar panels since you could accidentally damage them and void their warranty. The loss in production you’ll see if your panels are covered in snow will be pretty negligible compared to an entire year of solar production. Remember, your system was designed with snow and weather in mind. We size our solar panel systems based on how much they’ll produce every year. You’ll use the net metering credits you accumulated during the year.
Even if you live in an area with hard, dark winters, the season only lasts for a few months (even if sometimes it feels like it lasts all year!), so your solar energy system will have longer days to produce power during the rest of the year.