Solar output in the winter: what to expect, and how to optimize it
November 14, 2023
Did you know that solar panel average output by hour can actually outperform the summer months in cold climates because solar cells are more efficient at lower temperatures? According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), they found out that solar panels can produce up to 20% more electricity in cold weather than in hot weather. The study found that this is because solar cells are more efficient at lower temperatures.
In addition to the efficiency gain, PV modules in cold weather also tend to produce more energy overall, due to the higher solar irradiance. This is because clouds and other atmospheric pollutants tend to be less common in cold weather.
However, since solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity, their output will be lower during the winter months when the days are shorter and there are less sunlight hours available. Read on to learn more about what to expect from your solar panels in the winter and how to optimize their output.
How much lower will my solar output be in the winter?
The amount that your solar output decreases in the winter will vary depending on a a few factors, including your location, the weather patterns, and how much snow and cloud cover you typically get in the winter. In general, you can expect your solar output to decrease by 25-50% in the winter compared to the summer. You can reference an expected energy output for the winter months for your home by reviewing the proposal sent to you by the Freedom Solar Power team during your installation project. Keep in mind that the proposal offers monthly averages, but can vary depending on the weather patterns.
What can I do to maximize my solar output in the winter?
There are a few things you can do to maximize your solar output in the winter:
- Keep your solar panels clean. Dirt and snow can block sunlight from reaching your solar panels, reducing their output. Be sure to clean your solar panels regularly, especially after a snowstorm.If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, be sure to remove snow from your solar panels as soon as possible after a snowstorm. Reach out to the Freedom Solar service team to assist.
- Consider installing a solar backup battery, such as a Tesla Powerwall. A solar battery can store excess solar energy during the day and use it to power your home at night or during cloudy days. This can help you to maximize your solar output and reduce your reliance on the grid.
Check out www.Energy.gov for additional tips and tricks.
How can I save energy in the winter?
There are a number of things you can do to save energy in the winter and make your solar power stretch farther, including:
- Turn down your thermostat. Lowering your thermostat by just a few degrees can make a big difference in your energy consumption.
- Seal air leaks around your windows and doors. Air leaks can let in cold air, which can make your home more difficult to heat and increase your energy consumption.
- Add insulation to your home. Insulation helps to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, which can reduce your energy consumption year-round.
- Use energy-efficient appliances. When you need to replace old appliances, choose energy-efficient models. Energy-efficient appliances use less energy to operate, which can save you money on your energy bills.
By taking steps to maximize your solar output and save energy in the winter, you can reduce your reliance on the grid and save money on your energy bills. Want more tips and tricks? Reach out to the Freedom Solar Power team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you.