If you’re thinking about installing solar panels, then you probably have a long list of questions, including ones related to how weather can affect solar panel efficiency.
To assist you in your search for knowledge, here’s a comprehensive list of all the possible weather conditions your panels might become exposed to and how those conditions can affect them.
Cloudy or foggy weather
Solar panels need the sun to produce energy, and therefore, if the sun’s rays are being blocked by clouds, fog, mist or even smog, the efficiency of your panels will definitely be affected.
However, the good news is that even if you’re living in an area where the skies are mostly cloudy, your solar panels will still produce some energy. Even if we can’t see the sunlight, some of it will still be able to get through the clouds. This will allow the panels to generate electricity, albeit at a lower efficiency than on very sunny days.
The only problem that rain brings is the presence of clouds, which, as mentioned, can affect the efficiency of your solar panels a bit. The rain itself, on the other hand, can’t do any physical damage to your solar panels, as these panels are always covered with a waterproof encapsulant.
In fact, you should be happy when the rain falls from time to time, as the raindrops will clean the solar panels for you. The panels’ efficiency can be reduced by dust and dirt that accumulate on them over time, and a good wash provided by nature will get rid of this sun-blocking grime.
If you live in an area where dirt and dust storms are common, then you should keep in mind that your solar panels’ efficiency will be affected. While you won’t have to worry about any physical harm done to your panels, you’ll need to make sure they get clean after each storm is over. A quick rinse with the hose will do the trick!
Strong winds are unlikely to do any damage to your solar panels, as these panels are made to withstand winds of 90 (or more) MPH. Wind can actually boost the performance of your panels, because the cold air will cool down their operating temperature. Your only concern should be finding a reliable installation company to install your system firmly and securely.
If your panels are installed by a professional and not by yourself, you won’t have to worry about voltage surges, as a reliable company will make sure the system is properly grounded. If your area is prone to lightning, you can also have a lightning protection system installed to give you peace of mind. This is an easy and smart upgrade to make.
Snow can block the sun’s rays from getting to your solar panels, making them less efficient. Fortunately, in most cases, the snow will easily slide off the panels or melt away quickly due to the panels’ exposure to the sun. Panels that gather snow can also be brushed off with a broom if you detect that your solar efficiency has decreased.
Hail is known to cause a great deal of damage to property. Therefore, it’s normal to start worrying about your solar panels when hail is violently hitting your metal rooftop.
Once again, solar panels are extremely durable, as they’re constructed to uphold their proper form throughout the harshest weather, including hailstorms. Solar panels are made to withstand hail travelling at a speed of 260 MPH, and some can withstand even higher speeds. Furthermore, the presence of hail won’t affect the efficiency of your panels, and as a bonus, the panels may even protect the rest of your roof from damage.
High and low temperatures
As odd as it may sound, colder temperatures increase the efficiency of solar panels. When higher temperatures arrive, a voltage drop occurs, which lowers the power output of the panels.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that sunny areas with subzero weather conditions are the best for optimum solar panel efficiency, although the hot weather that often comes with sunlight won’t eliminate the panels’ ability to produce energy.
Final thoughts on solar panels and weather
The variety of myths about solar panels not working efficiently, due to certain weather conditions, are all major reasons why many people delay the solar installation process.
The best way to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth, when it comes to your solar panels, is to talk to professionals who are familiar with the weather conditions in your area. They’ll be able to calculate the amount of solar energy your home will be capable of providing you all year round.
Chances are, your solar efficiency concerns will be put at ease, and you’ll soon reap the benefits of your own solar panel system!
Solar panels aren’t only useful for stationary buildings—read about taking these panels on the road by visiting Electric Motorhome: An RV Powered by Solar Panels>>
Mattea Jacobs is a freelance writer who mostly writes about interior and exterior home design, and environmentally friendly ways to improve homes. She’s also a green activist and a mother of two beautiful sons. You can reach her on Facebook and Instagram.
image: David Hawgood