Memories of cold, snowy winters past can be discouraging even for the hardiest homeowner. If you’re considering going solar, you might be wondering whether solar panels and snow are a bad combination. On the contrary, EnergySage marketplace data has indicated that solar shoppers can often find the lowest quotes during winter months when competition is reduced. After all, if you look at solar as an investment, then it should be able to generate returns throughout the year as other investments do. Luckily, plenty of people have both solar panels and snow, and some of the most popular regions in the U.S. for solar have snowy winters. Don’t let winter weather discourage you from going solar!
Do solar panels work in the winter?
A common myth is that solar panels do not work during winter, but on the contrary, the cold temperature will typically improve solar panel output. The white snow can also reflect light and help improve PV performance.
What happens to my solar panel performance in the snow?
You don’t have to live in Phoenix or Los Angeles to achieve strong solar panel performance. As you consider solar panels for your home, remember that even if you live in the northern parts of the U.S., the worst of winter only lasts three months, so your days of low sunlight and heavy snow are limited. And the further from the equator you are, the longer your days are when the summer comes around—so while you may generate slightly less power in the winter months, you can make up for it with more sunshine in the summer.
Solar panels in the winter: the popularity of PV in cold climates
Sunny states (like California, Arizona, and Florida) are not the only places where solar makes sense. In fact, the top 10 cities for solar in the U.S. aren’t the sunniest ones. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranks Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York in the top 10 for states with the highest amount of installed solar in 2016, with large percentages of solar installations coming during winter weather months. This is largely due to the fact that electricity prices are one of the biggest drivers of solar savings – the higher your electricity rates, the more money you will save by going solar.
Need further proof? Consider Germany, whose sunshine levels are similar to Alaska’s. For over a decade, this northern European country has led the world in solar panel installations, and solar makes a significant contribution to their national energy mix. Although other countries, including the U.S. and China, are starting to catch up, Germany’s success is a shining example of how winter weather solar can work in countries across the globe. On an international level, solar panels and snow certainly do go together.
Now that you know that your solar panels can produce electricity in the winter, consider this: winter is also the best time to shop for solar if you’re a homeowner looking for the best value possible.