ION Solar Blog

Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?

In the midst of cold winter months, you might wonder if your solar panels are still producing energy. Many believe that snow can stop energy production, but this isn’t quite true. There are many ways that solar panels continue to produce energy without the intense sunshine summer offers.

The U.S. Department of Energy tested solar panel energy production against light and heavy snowfall in Virginia. They found that solar panels still generate electricity, even in very snowy areas!

A Dusting of Snow

A dusting of snow has very little impact on solar panel’s efficiency. The wind easily blows it from the surface. Light is also able to push through the scattered coating and continue to produce electricity.

Heavy Snowfall

Heavy snowfall has slightly more of an impact on energy production. However, there is no need to worry! Solar panels still produce energy. Their angle allows snow to slide off and panels with even slight exposure or full coverage still generate power. There may be a slight change in the amount of energy generated, but the panels will continue to produce a sufficient amount of power.

Cleaning Mechanism

Snowfall also acts as a cleaning mechanism for your panels. Any dirt will bond to the snow and wash away as it melts. Snow cleans your panels while helping them reach higher efficiencies. Sit back, relax and let snow do the work!

Facts from U.S. Department of Energy

-Research has shown that solar can still successfully generate electricity in snowy areas and other harsh environments.

-Light snow has little impact on solar panels because it easily slides off.

-Heavy snow can limit the amount of energy produced by solar panels, but light is still able to move through the snow and forward scattering brings more light to the solar cells than one might expect.

-Even when solar panels are completely covered by snow, they can still generate electricity.

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