Will Solar Panels Work During Winter?

By | August 31, 2013

If you live in an area that has long, harsh winters you may be wondering if your house is a good candidate for solar panels.  After all, days or weeks of overcast skies, snow flurries or monsoon rains hardly seem compatible with a technology that relies on the sun for its power.

But there has been a lot of innovation and progress in solar panel technology during the past 10 years.  Now solar technology is far enough along that solar panels can easily create electricity even on cloudy, snowy or rainy days.

If you have an off grid system which works independently of a public utility system, your solar energy system will include a set of storage batteries.  These batteries are similar to the kind used in cars.  They are designed to hold any excess electricity that your solar panels generate during the sunny part of the day.  If your battery storage system is properly designed for your region, it will include enough of these batteries to store electricity for the number of cloudy days that are typical for your geographical area.

If you have a system that is tied into the grid of your local electric utility company, then you won’t need storage batteries.  When the sun goes down at night, or during a stretch of bad weather where you don’t see the sun for days, your electrical system will automatically use electricity from your local power company. Of course, during sunny days, your solar panels will be generating your electric power, so you will still be reaping the benefits of lower electric bills.

In some areas, you ay even be able to sell power back to your local electric company.  This arrangement makes solar panels even more cost effective.  The way is works is that any excess power that your solar panels generate flows back into the grid system and you receive a credit for it on your electric bill.  That way, even if you need to use electricity from the grid during the night or during overcast days, any excess electricity that your solar panels were able to generate will still be lowering your overall utility bills.


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