As solar panel technology becomes more and more common in the United States and across the globe, it’s no wonder that people are wanting to learn more about how the technology works. Considering the wide variety of climates and landscapes that people live in, it’s understandable that many would be concerned about whether solar panels are right for their house, and whether the technology can put up with the worst weather conditions in the area they live in.
That’s why one of the biggest concerns for potential customers with solar lights and panels is how they hold up to the elements. As the technology becomes used by more people, it’s important that homeowners and business owners understand what they’re getting into when they install solar panels on their building. Like any lighting product, solar panels are an investment, and you don’t want your investment to stop working because of extreme weather.
This blog will outline the durability of solar lights/panels in extreme weather, as well as list some of our favorite solar panel and lights products. We’ll go over how solar lights/panels handle things such as extreme cold and heat, as well as rain and snow. We’ll also expand on the performance and maintenance of solar technology in cold climates.
Cold weather isn’t a huge concern for solar panels. As long as they are receiving adequate sunlight, the panel should function as it normally does, converting the sun’s energy into electricity.
Solar panels actually generally get more efficient as the weather gets colder. This is due to the nature of the energy exchange that is going on in a solar panel. As a rule of thumb, the efficiency of a panel decreases by about 0.05% for every one degree of temperature increase in Celsius. That also means the efficiency increases by 0.05% for a one degree decrease in Celsius temperature.
The reason for this is that the increase in voltage is greater than the decrease in current that comes with colder temperatures.
Extreme heat can actually more of a negative effect on solar panels than extreme cold. As outlined above, the efficiency of solar panels generally decreases as the temperature rises, due to the fact that the decrease in voltage will be greater than the increase voltage that comes with warmer weather.
Because of voltage decrease, extreme heat can have a negative effect on solar panels. PV Semiconductors that are used in solar panels will offer more resistance in extreme heat, making the solar panel as a whole less efficient.
The efficiency won’t normally drop any more than 10% due to extreme heat, though, making it an issue that you can deal with. When installing your panels though, it helps to be aware of how to install them so that you minimize the amount of heat that gets trapped in each panel
Rain and Snow
Solar panels aren’t nearly as optimal in producing energy when the sky is clouded over. One website estimates the power output of solar panels on cloudy days to be about 10 - 25% of their optimal capacity.
Rain can even be helpful for solar panels, as it can wash any dirt or grime that has developed on the panels over time.
Snow can pile up on top of solar panels and block them from receiving solar energy, but this usually isn’t a problem for very long. Since solar panels are designed to be pointed right at the sun, any snow that has piled up on top of them usually melts off fairly quickly. This means that snow isn’t really a problem you should worry about.
Lightning and hail can damage solar panels, so if this is an issue in your area you should probably look into an insurance policy that will protect you against such weather problems.
Wind is generally a good thing for solar panels, as it helps to reduce the temperature of the solar panels, making them more efficient in the process.
Essentially, a cold, sunny, and windy day is the best weather conditions for solar panels, since it will keep the temperature of the solar panels at a minimum and allow them to produce high amounts of energy for your home or business.
Top-rated solar panels are designed to withstand winds up to 140 MPH, which shouldn’t be a concern unless you live in areas affected by hurricanes or tornadoes.
Performance and Maintenance of Solar Panels in Cold Climates
Since solar panels work very well in cold climates, there isn’t much you should be concerned about when it comes to performance and maintenance. Well-made solar panels should put up with frigid conditions, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of solar power even during the winter months.
The only maintenance you might have to do is getting piles of snow off of your panels. Generally, snow will slide off your panels after the sun works its magic on them. If your panels are still blocked, it’s not hard to find a professional that will get your panels cleaned off for you and working at full performance again.
Durable Solar Panel Products
It is very important that you purchase solar panels made of quality materials and produced by a trusted manufacturer. Shine Retrofits carries a wide variety of solar panels and solar light products you can choose from. These products will put up with the elements and provide you with free power from the best energy source out there: the sun.
If you have any more questions about the durability of solar panels and lights or want to learn more about how you can install them for your home or business, please contact the customer service team at Shine Retrofits. Our lighting experts are standing by to help you with any concerns you might have and can walk you through the process of searching for, selecting, and purchasing lights and lighting accessories for your next project. Please call us at … anytime Monday through Friday from 6 am to 6 pm, Mountain Standard Time. We can’t wait to help you get started on your next lighting adventure!