The Efficiency of Solar Panels During Winter

Among the most popular myths about using solar panels is that they do not work well in extreme weather like winter. Again, it is just a myth which means it is not real. 

In some places in Australia, solar panel systems tend to perform even better during winter compared to summer heat. Meanwhile, in Darwin, solar efficiency increases when the sky is clear and cool than during stormy or cloudy weather. 

Hence, it proves that even below-freezing temperatures, solar power panels can still convert sunlight to consumable electricity.

Why Do Solar Panels Still Work Well Amidst the Cold Weather?

Solar panel systems work by letting light particles known as photons remove electrons from atoms, which are then responsible for generating electricity. This process is called the exciting of an electron. When panels get hot, several electrons get too excited, reducing the panel’s overall voltage. 

In winter, a solar panel’s temperature is not hot enough to over-excite these electrons. Since solar panels rely on light and not heat, cold weather may not affect their effeciency.  

During the winter, solar panels get the same amount of ultraviolet light from the sun as in summer. Clear skies and cold weather are optimal conditions to convert sun rays to electricity. Heat can work against solar panels since the hotter the panels become, the lower their efficiency. 

How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Yield in Winter?

For solar panels to work effectively, they need an ideal temperature of 25°C. Basically, anything higher than that will cause the system to lose efficiency. The overall efficiency of panels drops by 0.5% every time the degree is added to the temperature. 

So, when the air temperature is roughly 35 degrees, the efficiency of solar panels decreases by 5%. Luckily, with the average winter temperature in Australia, it is improbable for solar panels to get too hot.

Despite that, days are shorter, and winter has more cloud coverage. Thus, the lesser the sunlight. Solar panel efficiency can drop by 2 to 15% during the cold months; of course, it depends on where you live, how the panels are tilted, and how much dirt is on the panel’s surface.

Typically, a 5kW system can yield 20kWh in summer and 13kWh daily in winter. 

Using Solar Batteries

You might consider getting solar batteries if you live in an area with heavy cloud coverage and no exposure to sunlight. Solar batteries can store excess energy generated during summer, which may come in handy during winter. Plus, they can also serve as a backup when there is a power outage in your home.

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