Quite often, people ask the question: Do solar panels function when it is winter outside and knee-deep snow, and in general, what is the efficiency of solar panels in winter? Moreover, when the daylight hours are very short. Most people think that solar panels use solar heat, not light, and therefore there is a false impression that the system is not suitable in winter in our area.
Solar panels use the rays of the sun, that is, light, not heat, therefore they work the same way both in winter and in summer. Productivity is mainly affected by the length of daylight hours.
Yes, if necessary, you need not to be lazy and remove snow from solar panels, but even under the snow they will function. Often, from the heat that the photocells emit during operation – the snow melts on its own and falls off the panels. Naturally, in cloudy weather, solar panels will produce less electricity than usual, but despite this, in clear cold weather, the batteries are still effective.
In winter, the degree of the angle of inclination of the solar panels is very important, because the sun decreases and this, in turn, affects their performance. Usually, the universal tilt of solar panels is exposed, for the whole year (we wrote in more detail about the influence of the tilt angle in the article here).
The efficiency of solar panels in winter can decrease from 2 to 8 times, depending on the territory. The farther south, the greater the productivity. Because the more batteries you have, the more energy they will be able to generate. If in the summer, 1 kW of energy is needed to operate the freezer, laptop and room lighting (you need 4 panels of 250 watts each), then in winter, for peace of mind, it is preferable to make a reserve of 2 kW. To correctly calculate battery efficiency, you need to know the values of several characteristics: the monthly solar activity and the efficiency of the batteries you have installed.
You can use dedicated calculators to easily calculate the performance of your batteries. You just need to determine your state and city on the map, enter the number of your solar panels and you will receive monthly statistics. The average can be calculated here. This technique will help you avoid mistakes and negative emotions.