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Does the Cold Bother Solar Panels?

Does the Cold Bother Solar Panels?

Solar Myths & Facts: Fall & Winter Edition

 

Fuzzy  sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and swirling leaves mean dropping temperatures – but do they also mean your solar panels’ production will hibernate for the winter?

 

In a word: no.

 

In more words: here’s 3 persistent myths about Missouri winter solar and 3 cold, hard facts to answer them.

 

#1: Cold + Solar

 

MYTH:

  1. Solar panels + sunlight = electricity
  2. Sunlight = heat
  3. Therefore, less heat = less solar electricity

 

FACT:

  1. Solar panels + sunlight = electricity
  2. Sunlight = light + heat
  3. Solar panels + light = electricity

(Heat is a different energy form that is not converted by solar panels)

  1. In fact, frigid temperatures cause higher solar panel energy output.
  2. Therefore, less heat = even more electricity.

 

So like Queen Elsa of Frozen, the cold doesn’t bother solar panels…it actually makes them more powerful.

 

#2: Dark + Solar

 

Myth

  1. Solar electricity = solar panels + sunlight
  2. Winter = less sunlight
  3. Therefore, winter = less solar electricity

 

Fact

While shorter days do decrease solar production a bit (Missouri is below the 45th latitude, so not by much), that doesn’t necessarily mean a higher out-of-pocket electric bill.

Missouri’s net metering program ensures that your utility credits you for the excess electricity most panels feed into the grid during summer.  In winter, you can use those energy credits to help pay your electric bill.

 

(Fun fact – Germany receives the same amount of sunlight as Alaska, yet is the world’s leading solar market!)

 

#3: Snow + Solar

Myth

  1. Winter = snow cover (at least in Missouri)
  2. Snow cover = less sunlight on solar panels
  3. Therefore, winter = less solar electricity

 

FACT

  1. Most solar panels are installed at an angle and facing the sun (south, east or west), so snow slides off them quickly.
  2. The “albedo” effect of sparkling virgin snow reflects additional light onto your solar panels, ensuring even greater production.

 

 

Final tip: It’s rare that even heavy snowfalls will obscure your panels for long, but just in case – (include SunSolar’s tip for either cleaning them off with a special solar panel sweep or calling Sun Solar, whichever is best.)

 

So even Missouri’s most extreme winters only make your solar system stronger and more efficient than ever – a great reason to go solar in Missouri! To learn more about how snow affects your solar production, check out this video.

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