Solar Panels In Winter: A Guide to 365 Days of Energy Independence

solar winter TRC

A homeowner envisioning upgrading to solar panels will definitely raise the question -Are Solar panels in Winter effective? And the good news is “Yes”. As solar panels draw energy from the sun, people often need clarification that solar panels work not only on sunny days or in summer. But a solar panel will work on cloudy days and even on snow. Our guide will help you with complete knowledge about solar panels in Winter, how much energy can be generated and much more!


Do Solar Panels Work In Winter

While solar panels work most efficiently during summer due to increased sunlight, this does not mean they work only during summer days. A solar panel is capable of running throughout the year. As daylight hours are less during Winter, a solar might reduce its output but never fail to operate. Temperature does not cause an impact on the efficiency of solar panels. There is a myth that solar panels in Winter are unimaginable and do not work in low temperatures. But as there is sun, solar can draw energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. Believe it or not, solar panels can function in below-zero temperatures. Pick the right option for solar and increase its efficiency during Winter! Reach out to our team. We will help you find the best choice for your home/business!

Solar panels work throughout all seasons -rain, Winter, sunshine or even hail. But the energy produced during Winter is sufficiently low, as the sunlight is low these days. Days are shorter, and there are fewer hours of sun in the sky!

Solar Panels in Winter are functional. But what about solar panels in snowy periods? Is it able to generate energy on snowy days in the UK? Rest assured, even during the occasional snowy days, there’s no need for concern. Although a snow-covered solar panel can’t absorb light to generate electricity, the good news is that in the UK’s climate, properly installed solar panels are designed to either shed the snow or let it melt away due to the residual heat. Tilting the solar panel at an angle of 30 to 45 degrees helps prevent snow from building into a heap.

  • The reflective glass on the solar panels operates to melt down the snow, which helps it maintain optimal performance.
  • Location, size, quality and number of solar panels also determine how much energy a solar panel in winter can produce.

How Solar Panels In Winter Operate

Solar panels consist of silicon, a semiconducting material. When light strikes on the panel, electricity is produced to power your business/home.

Solar cells can react to mild, diffuse light scattered by particles in the atmosphere. This is the reason why a solar panel in Winter is still operational. However, solar panels require at least 4-5 hours of direct sunlight to operate at its highest performance. This does not mean solar panels can’t work in scanty daylight conditions.

Solar Panel Orientation is a factor to consider for maintaining the peak performance of solar panels in Winter.

  • Keep the solar panels facing south or southeast to draw the maximum sunlight during the morning and noon hours.
  • Keeping the panel in the southwest or west is also a better option, but the sunlight may decline as it moves.

Solar Panels in Winter -Factors To Be Considered

The two key factors to be considered while installing a solar panel in Winter are:

  1. Light

It is important to note that solar panels absorb energy from the sun’s source of light, not the heat. So, as long as there is sunlight, solar panels will generate electricity! They are most efficient during direct sunlight hours. However, in diffuse sunlight, solar panels can produce electricity. When particles scatter, sunlight in the atmosphere creates diffuse light, which still reaches the earth and hits the solar surface, producing electricity. But at a lower level.

  1. Temperature

It is a misconception that higher temperature is directly related to the efficiency of solar panels. Colder climatic conditions are also adequate for your solar panels to function efficiently. This implies that your solar panels will generate higher energy output per hour of sunlight during the shorter sunny winter days compared to the summer. In colder temperatures, electrons are dormant (lower energy). However, when sunlight intensity rises, it triggers higher voltage differentials within the solar panel. This increases energy production, resulting in a more effective solar panel system.

How Much Electricity Do Solar Panels In Winter Generate

Let us look at the amount of electricity solar panels produce in different months. A 3-kilowatt solar panel positioned directly southward generates approximately 300-400 kilowatt hours (kWh) in June and July, while the output drops to 70-75 kWh during the colder winter months of December and January. This results in roughly one-fifth of the electricity produced compared to the summer period.

The reasons for the low production of electricity by solar panels in Winter include:

  • Reduced sunlight during the daytime.
  • As the sun is weaker during Winter, the light reaching the panel is lesser.
  • Winter rainfall can benefit energy generation. Rain is a natural cleaner for solar panels, removing dust and dirt that could hinder light absorption.

Annually, the UK experiences an average of 1,339.7 hours of sunshine, roughly 30% of the maximum potential sunlight (around 4,476 hours per year). Cloudy skies are common due to the UK’s geographic position and climate.

Bottom Line

Investing in solar panels offers financial and environmental benefits for your home/business. If you’re a UK resident seeking details on top-performing solar panels or curious about their winter performance and efficiency across different temperatures, contact The Renewables Centre for assistance. Our team of solar experts is dedicated to providing the answers you need!