Solar Panel Facts You Need to Know During Winter

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An increasing number of homeowners in the U.S. heavily consider installing solar panels, a recent Pew Research survey revealed. However, as someone thinking of going solar this winter, you might question if solar panels can provide electricity to your home during the winter season. The simple answer is a big “yes,” solar panels can still produce energy during the winter or cold months, but there are other things that you need to know if you plan to buy a solar energy system this season.

Solar panels still produce energy during winter

Solar panel systems can produce electricity even during the cold months because the photovoltaic (PV) cells only absorb the ultraviolet rays from the sunlight and convert it to electricity. The panels don’t convert the heat, which means it can power your home regardless of temperature. Solar panels that are placed on the roof may not effectively absorb light if snow starts to buildup and covers the PV cells. Normally, snow doesn’t cover the panels because they are often installed in a tilted angle position so that snow will simply melt and slide off the PVs and effectively absorb sunlight.    

During a snowstorm, however, solar panels are unable to absorb light and produce electricity if a thick layer of snow covers the panels. Homeowners who are concerned about the weight of the snow on the panels may contact their solar maintenance provider to remove the snow. It’s often not a good idea for inexperienced homeowners to climb on the roof and remove the snow off of the panels themselves.

Buying your own solar energy system is a smart move

There are several options available for homeowners who want to go solar. But if you have the funds, most experts agree that it’s better to buy your own solar energy system. Home solar panel costs have reportedly fallen according to a recent Fox Business article.

Because solar panels typically cost $20,000 and above, it’s advisable that you understand your monthly electricity consumption to help you decide what size of solar energy system you’ll buy. Before buying a system, it’s often ideal that you use energy-saving home appliances and can make your home energy efficient. Insulations and windowpane updates are just a few renovations you can do to make your home energy efficient.

Some reminders if you plan to lease a solar energy system

Leasing a solar energy system could help you save up to 40 percent on electricity bills. It’s one of the options you might consider if you don’t have the funds to buy your own system. But since solar energy system prices fell and more solar companies now offer loans to reduce the upfront purchase cost, leasing has started to lose its appeal to homeowners. Wood Mackenzie senior energy storage analyst Brett Simon said, leasing “ends up being more expensive.”

If you have plans to sell your home, leasing solar panels could complicate transactions, especially if a prospective buyer doesn’t want to take the system.

Would you go solar this winter?

Solar panels will work even during the winter season, but during a snowstorm you may need to remove the snow that piles up on the panels, preventing them from absorbing light. If you greatly consider having a solar energy system as a source of renewable energy, now is the right time to buy your own system if you have the funds.