Does solar Work In Winter?

Does Solar Work in the Winter?

Embarking on a solar journey is a thoughtful process that considers the entire annual production cycle. Despite a common misconception surrounding the effectiveness of solar panels in winter, it’s essential to understand that the solar system is intricately designed, taking into account the dynamics of the annual solar cycle.

Upon transitioning to solar, the system strategically maximizes production during the summer, capitalizing on extended daylight hours and heightened sunlight to accumulate a surplus of net metering credits. This surplus becomes a valuable asset, particularly during winter when sunlight hours are limited, and environmental factors like snow and cloud cover may influence production.

While winter may present challenges, the solar system’s capability to amass excess energy during more favorable periods ensures a stable and dependable energy supply throughout the year. Conceptualize this as a systematic and year-round approach to energy generation, offering homeowners a continuous and reliable power source, irrespective of seasonal variations or weather conditions.

Now, let’s dispel the common misconception regarding solar panels’ effectiveness in winter.

The good news is that not only do solar panels continue to function during winter, but they exhibit increased efficiency. Acknowledging the unique winter conditions—such as reduced sunlight hours, snow, and cloud cover—that may lead to a temporary dip in system production, it’s crucial to recognize that solar systems are meticulously configured to guarantee uninterrupted power throughout the entire year.

Solar Performance During Winter

Homeowners may be surprised to hear that solar panels actually function more efficiently during the winter than the summer. Panels are powered by sunlight, not heat, so like most electronics they actually work better when cold than when hot. This means that your solar panels will produce more energy per sunlight hour in the winter than in the summer.

While this means that your solar system is performing at peak efficiency during the winter, the limited sunlight hours each day during the winter do still cause your system to produce less energy than in the summer. That means the amount of energy your system produces in the winter will probably be less than the amount of energy your home needs. 

Solar Energy Storage: Saving Up for Winter

The limited sunlight hours during the day and your home’s increased energy usage in winter months may leave a gap between your system’s production and your home’s consumption. That’s why we design your system to prepare for the winter months ahead of time. 

We build your solar system to produce more energy during the high production summer months than your home needs. All of this excess energy that your home does not use during the summer will be stored up for you to use during the winter, when your system is not producing as much. You can store this energy on the grid using net metering, or you can add a solar battery to your system as a backup power bank.

Your home will automatically pull the energy it needs off of your solar battery or the power grid (depending on which storage method you choose) whenever your solar system is not producing enough for your home. You see this on a smaller scale every day: your solar panels don’t produce energy at night when the sun is not out, so we build your system to overproduce during the day so you can store up extra energy to use at night.

Using the Power Grid for Additional Energy

What if you don’t have enough energy stored to cover your home’s energy usage? 

Well, all solar systems are connected to the grid, even systems that use battery storage. That means if you ever run into an instance where you need more energy than you have stored, you will be able to pull extra energy from the grid. Your utility company will keep track of how much extra energy you take and bill you accordingly.

There are a variety of reasons you could end up in this situation. Maybe you made an upgrade to your home that increased its energy consumption: a hot tub, pool pump, or electric vehicle, for instance. Maybe you just experienced a record cold winter and have been using the heater more than usual. Whatever the reason, you always have backup options to ensure you get the power you need.

Power Through the Winter Months with Solar

These backup options ensure that your solar energy system continues to provide the power you need year round. While you may notice variations in your system’s production and your home’s consumption each month, over the course of the year these fluctuations will balance out and your system will provide you with the energy promised. If not, we will reevaluate your system and provide any changes or upgrades necessary to provide the energy you were promised!

Don’t let the winter chill stop you from going solar. When we build your system, we make sure that you will always have access to the energy your home needs so that you can keep enjoying the many benefits solar has for you and your home year round.

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