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Solar panels don’t work in the cold

There are people who have the misconception that Solar panels do not work in the cold . Let me tell you that solar panels work with sunlight, not heat.

When winter arrives, doubts about solar energy multiply. If you wonder if solar panels work and perform in the same way at that time of year, here we answer your questions!

Solar panels don’t work in the cold

As we have been commenting on our blog, thanks to the latest government reform and the elimination of the sun tax, interest in self- consumption of electricity is increasing in Spain . But when the winter season arrives, it is when doubts arise and more questions appear regarding its installation. 

Questioning whether it is appropriate if you live in an area where temperatures are very low is common and can put a damper on your choice of solar power as an alternative energy source. But is winter related to poor solar panel performance ? Let’s see it!

Do solar panels work in winter? 

It is true that in winter there are fewer hours of daylight, however these are still sufficient. Although temperatures drop, the sun rises during all months of the year and photovoltaic solar panels work thanks to the light obtained , not heat . 

So the answer is yes. Solar solar panels in winter do not stop working. There is a reduction in production, a 30-40% reduction in performance, but they continue to work during these months and even when it snows. Now -and here is a clarification- if the snowfall is very strong and completely covers the photovoltaic panels, the performance will be reduced.

In cloudy climates, for example, there is a production of between 10% and 25% of its capacity. The sun’s rays pass through the clouds, and reach the solar panels to continue generating solar energy.

For those users concerned about spending overnight, our system is made so you can add batteries later if needed.

Performance of solar panels in winter

It is clear that the efficiency of solar panels does not decrease in winter and it is not the reason that they generate less electricity at this time of year. Solar panels in winter, like the rest of the year, transform sunlight into electricity.

However, both the number of hours available and the incidence of the sun affect the total energy that can be generated .

This is the reason why the installation companies carry out various calculations to adjust the inclination and orientation of the solar panels . So that optimal production is achieved throughout the year. Or in your case, adapting to our consumption habits, prioritizing use on weekends and summer, or in general for the whole year.

Performance of solar panels in winter

How do cloudy days affect solar panels?

Cloudiness causes the performance of solar panels in winter to decrease to 20% of their normal capacity . Although this happens the same in summer, since the clouds avoid the direct incidence of the sun on the plates.

In these cases, only diffuse light provides energy to generate electricity, but it is obviously less, and therefore its performance or efficiency decreases.

How does snow affect solar panels in winter?

How does snow affect solar panels in winter?

Those of us who live in areas where snow is common must consider that this is an obstacle for solar panels to receive the sun’s rays in winter . Therefore, if the photovoltaic panels are covered by snow, they generate less electricity or even nothing. For this reason, it is important to regularly clean the plates and keep them free of snow or any dirt.

In these areas, mainly in the north of Spain or in the high mountains of the plateau or Andalusia, photovoltaic installations are made with a suitable slope .

This helps the plates have the proper inclination to cause the snow to fall more easily. Thus the surface of the solar panels in winter is free to receive the sun’s rays.

Our SolarMind kit

Our 450W panels (maximum power available) PERC version will avoid unpleasantness in those months of the year when natural light is scarcer. 

PERC stands for “Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact” or rear cell . Solar panels built with PERC cells have an extra layer on the back of traditional solar cells. This extra layer allows more sunlight to be captured and converted into electricity, making PERC cells more efficient than traditional cells. PERC modules can also mitigate back recombination and prevent longer wavelengths from being converted into heat that would affect cell performance.

When you consider having a solar installation in your home, what you surely want is that throughout its useful life it generates more energy than the cost of its installation. As for the operation of solar panels in winter , or in summer, for photovoltaic self-consumption , amortizations are usually between 6 and 8 years -and even less than that, depending on your local subsidies.

In other words, in a maximum of 10 years, the cost of the installation has been paid for with traditional energy savings, and you begin to have benefits . That is why investing in solar panels is more than recommended, both for the planet and for society .

With SolarMente, for example, you can choose to pay in advance or finance your installation for up to 12 years, and the final price will not change. We offer a 360° guarantee, with 25 years on the performance of your panels, and 12 years on the products (including the inverter). 

The performance, and therefore the savings generated , are guaranteed for 25 years with us, which guarantees that you will make a profit with your installation .