If you’re considering a home solar panel system, you may be wondering how it will function in the winter. Solar panels need sunlight to function, after all, and sunlight can be hard to come by in winter. Also, snow presents a separate issue: if snowfall builds up on your solar panels, will sunlight reach them?

In this article, we’ll explain how solar panels work in the snow to power your home. You may be surprised to learn that the winter months won’t derail your home’s solar panel system. 

Year-Round Solar Panel Performance

While the weather changes with the seasons, your home’s basic need for energy remains. In the summer, solar panel owners don’t have to worry about their panels receiving enough sunlight, as the sun is usually shining during the warm weather months. However, in winter, overcast days and periodic snowstorms will lower the amount of sunlight that your solar panels receive. 

That said, the winter months aren’t a loss for solar panel systems. Days that are both cold and sunny are excellent for solar panels, as they operate with greater efficiency in lower temperatures. So, when the sun is shining but the air is cold, you’ll get more energy per hour out of your solar panels than you would on a sunny summer day. 

Solar Panels in Cold Climates

Solar panels aren’t just for regions with notoriously warm climates! Northern states including New York and Massachusetts are among the most popular for solar panel installation. While this may sound counterintuitive, there’s a great reason why homeowners in colder climates are opting for solar panels: electricity costs. In these areas, homeowners use more electricity throughout the year due to a higher demand for heating. So, by installing solar panels, homeowners in these areas can reap savings on their high utility bills. It’s a smart, practical choice that will also largely lower homeowners’ impact on the environment. 

Snow and Solar Panels

Many homeowners in Albuquerque and beyond worry that snowstorms will compromise their solar panel systems. The two main concerns regarding snow and solar panels are coverage and weight. Let’s discuss these issues below. 

Snow Coverage

After a snowstorm, a layer of snow may be left covering your home’s exterior surfaces. With solar panels installed on your roof, that means that your panels will be covered in a layer of snow. To function, solar panels must be able to receive sunlight. With snow covering the panels, your solar system won’t be able to produce power. 

That said, snow melts quickly. For mild to moderate snowstorms, the snow coverage will likely melt off of your panels before you even get a chance to address it. In the case of heavy snowfall, snow coverage can be removed from solar panels relatively easily. You can use lukewarm water and a squeegee to safely remove the snow from your panels. Just make sure to never use hot water for solar panel snow removal. The big difference in temperature could harm your solar panels’ tempered glass. 

Weight From Snowfall

The other concern that many homeowners have regarding snow and their solar panels is weight. Snow buildup can seem heavy, and if it’s resting on your solar panels, you may wonder if damage is being done. But, you can relax – solar panels won’t crack under the weight of snow. The panels are made to be strong and withstand outdoor conditions. In fact, all solar panels are put through pressure tests before being approved for use, ensuring that they can endure a reasonable amount of weight. Snowfall is very unlikely to surpass solar panels’ pressure limits. 

Snow: Not Worth The Worry For Solar Panel Owners 

In reality, snow is unlikely to significantly impact your solar panels. In most cases, the snow will simply melt off of the panels in the day or hours after the snowstorm, leaving your solar panels in perfect condition to continue gathering energy from the sun. Except in extreme cases, homeowners can simply go about their days as usual when snow falls on their solar panels. Solar panels are durable and built to withstand Mother Nature’s full range of weather conditions – snow is very unlikely to compromise the panels in any way. 

With solar panels, your home or business can become an energy producer, rather than just an energy consumer. Over the years, you’ll gain energy independence and stop having to pay for utilities. But, how exactly do solar panels harness energy from the sun for your use? 

Despite being simple and low-maintenance for property owners, solar panels are backed by impressive scientific technology. Let’s explore what makes solar panels work for your Tampa home or business!

How do solar panels harness energy from the sun for your use? Let’s explore what makes solar panels work for your Tampa home or business!

How Do Solar Panels Turn Sunlight Into Energy?

Photovoltaic cells are the building blocks of solar panels. It’s thanks to photovoltaic cells that solar panels can capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. A solar panel is made up of many of these cells, all linked together, which absorb sunlight to create electricity. 

An electric field is necessary for photovoltaic cells to serve their purpose. To create an electric field, in which opposite charges are pulled apart, solar panels are comprised of silicon that’s been doped with phosphorus and boron. This means that the solar panel consists of alternating positive and negative charges, thus generating an electric field. 

The materials in a solar panel – silicon, phosphorus, and boron – work together to knock electrons free from atoms to create a stream of energy. Phosphorus is added to the uppermost layer of silicon. This provides a negative charge. The layer underneath is given boron, creating a positive charge. The panel can then absorb a photon from the sun’s rays, freeing up an electron to create electricity. 

More Panels = More Energy Production

When it comes to a solar system, the more solar panels that are installed, the greater your energy production potential. A higher number of solar panels will lead to a higher volume of photons from the sun reaching the system. With more photons reaching the solar system, more electrons will be knocked free from atoms, creating a stronger flow of energy in comparison to systems with fewer panels. 

Your Tampa solar panel experts will help you decide the right number of solar panels for your home. The location of the solar panels is also important, as the panels should be positioned to receive optimal sunlight throughout the day. 

How Does Solar Power Connect To The Electrical Grid?

Now, we know how solar panels can generate electricity from sunlight. But, how does that link to the electrical grid that your home is connected to? Also, how do the big energy companies keep track of your solar system’s electricity production in Tampa and beyond?

The answer: your home’s utility meter. Your home has a utility meter that allows your power provider to track and supply energy for your home. When you have solar panels installed for your home, they’ll connect to your utility meter. Then, this meter can track and tap into the power that your solar system produces. 

What About Net Metering?

Through net metering, solar system owners are compensated for the energy that their homes generate and contribute to the electrical grid. Specifically, when the sun is shining, your home solar system may produce an abundance of electricity. The electricity that you don’t use will be added to the electrical grid. This meter records this contribution and the homeowner will receive a credit. That credit can be used when the homeowner’s energy usage exceeds their solar production, such as during a cloudy day or at night.

Net Metering and Energy Independence

With net metering, homeowners with solar panels can reduce their future energy costs through the production of clean energy. The net metering system is one of the largest financial benefits of owning a solar panel system in Tampa, allowing homeowners to become energy independent. 

Investing in a Sun-Powered Home

By understanding how solar panels work to provide energy to homes, you can clearly see the financial and environmental benefits of owning a solar system. In working to become energy independent, you can slash your utility bills while promoting a clean energy source for the future of our planet. 

Ready to become an energy producer? Contact our Tampa solar panel team today.

Solar energy as your home’s power source provides a wide range of benefits. For your family, community, and the environment, solar power is a clean, convenient, and responsible choice. Plus, with our Albuquerque solar panel experts ready to provide reliable installation services, the setup of your new solar panel system will be easy. 

Below, we’ll discuss the main benefits of installing solar panels for your home. Between personal savings and environmental protection, choosing solar energy will have a positive, far-reaching impact on your life.

The Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

Solar Panels Are An Investment

In addition to being an investment in and of itself, your solar panel system is an investment in your Albuquerque home. Solar panels will increase the value of your home substantially. In the long term, solar panels are a reliable and effective way to improve your home’s resale value. This means that if you put your home on the market at some point in the future, it will sell more quickly (and for a higher price) than homes without solar panels. 

Returns on solar panels give traditional investments in stocks and bonds a run for their money. Especially when you consider local solar rebates and tax credits, you have much to gain by investing in a sun-powered home. 

Reduce or Eliminate Your Utility Bill

Do you ever wish that you could make monthly bills disappear? While it may not be possible to eliminate all of your monthly expenses, solar panels can erase your utility bill. Especially for homes with a lot of square footage, utility bills can be extraordinarily expensive. Electricity may even constitute a significant share of your total monthly property costs. But, with solar panels, this doesn’t have to be the case. 

Become Energy Independent

Gaining energy independence by installing solar panels is a smart financial choice. Immediately after the installation of your solar panels, you’ll start to see savings on your monthly utility bills. Then, in approximately seven to ten years, your solar panel system will have paid for itself. For the 25 years (or longer!) that your solar panel system lasts, your home will be fully energy independent. This means that your home will be powered by the sun for this period – for free. Free energy is available to all of us, but we need to invest in solar panels to make use of it. 

Protect The Environment

Having solar panels installed for your home in Albuquerque is one of the biggest steps that you can take to help the environment. By using renewable energy from the sun to power your home, you can significantly lower your impact on our planet. Plus, out of the many tasks that you can complete to protect the environment, investing in solar panels is one of the easiest. Solar panels require little to no maintenance, and your Albuquerque solar experts will take care of the installation for you. 

Reduce Fossil Fuels and Greenhouse Gases

Sun-powered homes help reduce the use of fossil fuels and the production of greenhouse gas emissions. Burning fossil fuels releases pollutants into the air, which warm our earth and trigger climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions are detrimental to both the planet and the health of humanity. In fact, respiratory disease is just one of the many negative health effects that can be caused by greenhouse gases. 

By having solar panels installed for your home in Albuquerque, you’ll be making a valiant effort to lower the effects of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. We can all spread the word about solar panels to make the sun a major power source in our communities. These strides towards stopping climate change have a positive impact on the planet’s entire population. 

Promote Energy Independence

By installing a solar panel system for your home, you’re an ambassador for solar energy in the United States. This is a step towards energy independence for the entire nation, helping protect Americans from shifting prices in international energy markets. Your decision to go solar is more than just a personal choice. It will positively influence energy production in the United States.

A solar panel system for your Albuquerque home can provide sizable benefits for decades to come. Ultimately, energy independence is a gift that keeps on giving!