knowledge article

Are solar panels still effective in winter?


One myth surrounding solar panels is that they are only effective in the summertime; luckily for those who have invested in a solar energy system for their home, this is certainly not the case, especially when power bills are at their peak of the year.

While there is indeed a slight decrease in performance over winter, solar panels still produce a lot of power during the winter months. With a solar energy system, you will still be offsetting a significant portion of your power bill and enjoying a reliable, sustainable energy solution all year round.

Let's delve into the effectiveness of solar panels during New Zealand’s colder, darker months:

The effect of temperature on solar panels

Solar panels generate electricity by converting sunlight into usable energy through the photovoltaic (PV) effect. Put simply, this means they are designed to absorb light energy, not heat energy; so, the outside temperature doesn't significantly impact solar panel performance.

While the rule-of-thumb optimum temperature for solar panels is about 25°C, there is some evidence that solar panels may perform better on sunny days at cooler temperatures.

The importance of sunlight for solar panels

Winter days are shorter; and less hours of sunlight means less total energy output. However, even on cloudy or overcast days, sunlight still penetrates the atmosphere and reaches the earth's surface, providing enough light for solar panels to generate electricity.

Snowfall and solar panels

Good news for those down South: snow doesn't render solar panels ineffective. Modern solar panel designs and materials prevent snow from sticking to the surface. Additionally, solar panels are typically installed at an angle, allowing snow to slide off naturally.

On heavy snow days, you may need to manually clear the snow from the panels, but this is a relatively simple task that can be done with a gentle brush or broom.

Getting the most out of your solar panels in winter:

  • Regular Cleaning - Check your solar panels after particularly windy or rainy weather and make sure to keep them clean and free from debris to maximise light absorption.
  • Optimal Panel Placement - Ensure your solar panels are installed at an angle that receives maximum sunlight during winter. Our professional installers can determine the best positioning for any location in New Zealand.
  • Monitoring and Trimming - Trim any tree branches that may cast shadows on your solar panels to ensure you’re not missing out on any sunlight.
  • Battery Storage - Consider investing in a battery storage system. Solar batteries allow you to store excess energy generated during the day and use it in the evening or when sunlight is limited.

Read more about how to optimise the performance of your solar panels here.

Slash your winter power bill with Solar:

During winter, many people experience a significant increase in their power bills due to higher heating demands. However, incorporating solar power into your energy mix can help alleviate these spikes by harnessing the sun's energy to power your home and reduce reliance on traditional grid-based electricity.

Don't let the winter blues hold you back from energy independence! Get Solar Panels installed with Harrisons

Our solar experts offer top-quality products and ensure that the installation process is a positive, stress-free experience. We help New Zealanders access clean, renewable, and affordable energy, and our team will ensure you can access that energy on as many days of the year as possible!

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