Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter Months?

Written by  //  January 11, 2023  //  Home Exterior, Roof, Solar Energy  //  Comments Off on Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter Months?

Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter Months?

Local climate can greatly affect the efficiency of your solar panels. However, there is a general misconception that solar panels don’t work in the winter. This article will finally answer the question of whether solar panels work in the winter months.

Do Solar Panels Work in Cold Temperatures?

Many people believe that it has to be hot in order for solar panels to work, but in truth, solar panels thrive in cold weather. To understand why, you need a short science lesson.

Energy is created when the electrons in the panel’s silicon start to move. These electrons move when the sun hits them, and the faster they move, the more electricity they produce. In the cold, electrons are at rest and contain less energy, but when hit by the sun, they become active and move much faster, essentially jumping into action. This jump in movement creates a large energy output.

Will Solar Panels Work if They’re Covered in Snow?

If your solar panels are covered in a thick layer of snow, then no, they will not produce energy. However, because solar panels are angled, snow will fall off quickly, and any remaining snow will melt much faster because the panels also attract heat.

Unfortunately, many homeowners believe that this is the time to break out the broom and shovel to remove the snow themselves, which isn’t advisable. While solar panel maintenance is important, you should always hire professionals, as the wrong cleaning and snow removal tools can damage your panels. Not only can this affect their efficiency, but you may accidentally void your warranty by taking maintenance into your own hands.

Can Solar Panels Freeze?

Most, if not all, solar panels go through rigorous temperature testing, so they are sure to work in freezing temperatures. However, not all solar panels are suited for your local climate. If your installer doesn’t help you choose the right solar panels, or the solar panels installed are cheaply made, they can freeze in the right conditions. For example, if snow melts and the water left behind doesn’t have time to dry before the temperature drops, that frozen water will expand. When this expansion occurs, the panels can crack and fracture.

The short answer is yes, solar panels do work in the winter months. However, to prevent any issues, be sure to ask your installer what temperatures the panels can withstand. They’ll be able to tell you everything you need to know about your panels and how to keep them in working order.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock royalty-free image #50126723

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