Solar panels are one of the world’s most popular forms of renewable energy. Around 1 in 3 Brisbane homes now has solar panels installed, making us the most solar-friendly city in Australia. With plenty of sunlight hours throughout the year, Queensland’s climate is ideal for solar power, and installing panels on your home is a great way to take advantage of free, renewable energy and reduce your power bills.
With solar power being a big investment, customers often wonder how effective their panels will be throughout the year. People are especially concerned that their solar panels won’t perform well during the short, colder days of winter. To put your mind at ease, we want to discuss how solar panels work and how effective they are during the cooler months.
How Winter Affects Solar Panel Output
To get a better idea of how winter affects the efficiency of your solar panels, we need to take a quick look at how solar panels actually produce power.
There’s a common misconception that solar panels need heat to produce electricity. In reality, solar panels use the light itself to generate electricity. When the photons that make up light hit a solar cell, they knock electrons loose from their atoms, turning the solar cell into an electric circuit. The loose electrons generate electricity as they move through the circuit.
In fact, excess heat can actually be a problem for solar panels. The heat that builds up in solar panels during summer days agitates the electrons in the cells, decreasing the efficiency of solar panels. On the other hand, the cool weather during Brisbane’s winter tends to have a positive impact on solar panel efficiency.
How Much Does Solar Power Output Drop in Winter?
It’s tough to give a definite answer to this question, as solar panels naturally produce varying amounts of power throughout the year. The exact amount of power your solar panels produce depends on dozens of factors, including:
The make, model and technology used in the panel
The angle of the sun in the sky
The angle at which the panels are mounted on your roof
The number of daylight hours
Shading from clouds or vegetation
Build ups of snow, dust and other debris
Your geographic location
In general, the performance of your solar panels should only drop a little during winter. A normal decrease would be approximately 2% to 15%, depending on the things we listed above. If you’re seeing a more dramatic drop in power, it might be time to contact an electrician and ask them about solar maintenance and repairs.
Are Solar Panels Effective in Winter?
The simple answer to this question is yes! Solar panels remain effective even in the winter months. Thanks to fewer daylight hours and the sun being low in the sky, you can expect to see a small drop in the output of your solar panels during winter. Even still, solar panels remain one of the most effective and affordable ways to take advantage of renewable energy sources.
With Australians using more energy in winter than they do in summer, many of us look to solar panels as a way to offset the cost of our heating. You can help your solar panels by doing a few extra things to keep your power consumption low in winter:
Switch to energy saving LED lighting
Stay warm by rugging up rather than running your heater
Program your heater or reverse cycle air conditioning to turn off during the night
Find and seal any air leaks around your property
Close the curtains to prevent heat escaping through glass windows
Avoid using a hot shower to get warm
Managing your use of power-hungry devices is the best thing you can do to get more from your solar panels during winter. Using big consumers at times when your solar panels are producing the most power will also offset your extra power consumption.
Do Your Solar Panels Need Attention This Winter? Contact Dawson Electric Today!
Solar Panels are an effective way to power your home or business throughout the year. While you will see a small drop in their efficiency during winter, you shouldn't have any major problems with your solar panels in Brisbane’s colder months. If your power bill is climbing or if you’ve noticed that your panels aren’t producing much power, get in touch with Dawson Electric! We offer a comprehensive range of solar maintenance and repairs, so we can locate and fix any issues you’re experiencing. Contact us today to get a free quote from our experienced electricians!