What Happens to Solar Energy Production in Bad Weather?
Despite solar energy becoming more accessible and a more common method for powering American homes and the industry’s rapid growth over the last decade, there are plenty of people out there who are worried about the misconception solar panels only work in specific parts of the world. Often, they associate solar with places that are sunny and agreeable year-round.
When looking at solar on the surface, it would seem to make sense: sunlight = energy production. However, solar energy is far more adaptable than some might think, especially when it comes to production in variable weather.
Research in the solar industry has increased rapidly as we have discovered the ease, cleanliness, and potential for the sun’s power. Regardless of what part of the country you live in, solar can serve you year-round.
In the interest of giving solar energy the credit it deserves, let’s review a few questions about how the weather affects solar energy production. If you have more questions we do not cover below, feel free to contact one of our experts!
Why We Install On-Grid
Before we get into solar’s success in all kinds of weather, we want to give a quick reminder that Blue Raven Solar only installs panels on the grid. The only time solar might not actively be producing energy is when the power goes out, because if you are still connected to the utility grid when you install, it is necessary to turn off all power production on the grid to protect the people making the repairs. If you were not on the grid, this might not affect you, but we installed it on the grid for a couple of reasons. You can read about those reasons and the differences between the systems (including advantages and disadvantages of each).
To combat this, you can install energy storage systems like the SunVault by SunPower, now available from Blue Raven Solar.
Will My Solar Array Produce Energy on a Cloudy Day?
Yes, at similar rates, too!
Like how you can get sunburned from being outside in overcast conditions, your rooftop solar array will still convert photons into electric currents even if the skies are overcast and cloudy. While it is true cloud cover reduces the number of photons hitting solar panels, how much it changes depends on a few factors, like the thickness and density of the clouds. So, while you would notice a dip in energy production comparing a very sunny day with a very overcast day, the annual productivity of a rooftop solar array should amount to all the energy you need to power your home, especially when coupled with the utility grid and the potential to earn credits for your overproduction on sunny days.
Premium solar installers like Blue Raven Solar employ tools like Google’s Project Sunroof and years of historical data to account for typical weather patterns in your area. To accurately model the energy production needs of every rooftop solar array we install, all this information is factored into the custom design proposal for your home. The result should be enough solar energy to power your home life, day-to-day, throughout the entire year.
Think about the state of Florida. Despite its nickname “The Sunshine State,” Florida receives the most rain nationally throughout the summer and ranks fifth for precipitation year-round. Even still, Florida is one of the highest-installed states for solar, ranking third nationally after California and Texas. Rain or shine, solar does work.
Equipment Makes a Difference
For homeowners to get the most out of their panels, Blue Raven Solar only uses the highest quality equipment for their customers—black, tier-1, monocrystalline panels. These panels use photovoltaic technology and can operate with high efficiency in direct and indirect sunlight. Therefore, if the sun is above the horizon, your panels will produce energy, even if it is not necessarily as efficient as a noonday with a cloudless sky.
Germany is a testament to solar success in cloudy weather. Because it has a dense population and a large energy demand, they tend to have sunny days for less than half of the year, but they have some of the highest solar capacity in the entire world. It ranks fourth in the world, despite its tiny size in comparison to other countries.
Keeping these facts in mind, it is hard to argue clouds do anything to affect the efficiency of your solar panels. With a company like Blue Raven Solar, we can give you the best solar experience. You can go solar with confidence and without any hassle! All our practices make your solar journey easy, simple, and straightforward.
Did You Know?
For solar energy to be as dependable as the morning sun, Blue Raven Solar offers customers a two-year production guarantee.
Here is how it works:
Once you decide to go solar, you will receive a customized proposal and array design created through 3-D modeling software allowing us to create the most efficient layout on your roof. Our goal in creating this design is to use what we know from your utility bill history to offset 100% of your energy usage with solar energy production.
After the first year, we check in with you and audit the production of your solar array. This process is repeated two years after installation. If any solar energy systems are found to produce less than original estimates, we will update your system to include more panels, free of charge. Learn more about our production guarantees and warranties.
What If Hail Damages My Solar Panels?
Some states experience violent hailstorms, damaging everything in their path. The possibility of severe weather may leave you worried about the possibility of damage to your panels. Extreme weather events can cause damage. It is important to keep in mind, most solar panel installation companies do extensive testing on the effects of weather like hail and have found it takes very severe weather to harm panels to the point of malfunction.
Solar panels endure everything nature pelts them with, even violent storms and extreme winds. Likely, your system will endure thunderstorms, windstorms, hailstorms, and heavy snow without sustaining any damage at all. For your own peace of mind, Blue Raven Solar uses panels that come with a manufacturer’s warranty. If weather events damage the panels installed, there is a chance they had structural defects in the first place.
Extreme weather (hail, hurricanes, tornados, etc.) might seem like a threat to your panels and your system as a whole, but for the sake of quality, safety, and longevity, your system has been built and installed to withstand strong weather conditions and temperature changes.
Legislation requires panels be installed as a “part” of the roof, not as an addition to the roof, because of how close they are to be placed to the structure. Solar panels have survived category four hurricanes without any major damage, and as infrastructure and building becomes more advanced, it will become less of a risk in unpredictable weather.
You can protect your rooftop solar array by including it in your homeowner’s insurance, which would cover most, or all the costs associated with repairing, replacing, or upgrading panels.
What If My Panels Get Snow and Ice Buildup in the Winter?
When snow and ice buildup on solar panels, it does present a challenge, especially if it sticks around. Choosing premium, black solar panels should keep snow and ice from sticking around long-term because the black color also warms quickly with sun exposure, helping accelerate melt-off.
The production of energy radiates a bit of heat as well, so they melt off snow and ice even faster. Once sunlight hits the panels, the buildup may just slide off or melt away quickly. Solar panels are also very slick, which helps build up slide off even if the panels are not fully heated. If snow does accumulate, waiting for the sun to melt enough to clear the panels is the best solution.
Snow and ice can also clean your panels without any effort on your part. They will be cleaner because dirt and dust bind with the snow and water molecules and melt off with it! Your panels will be left sparkling clean, giving them peak performance. To add on another advantage, your panels will be more efficient because of the cold weather—panels tend to be more productive when they experience colder temperatures. Electrons have more room to move and can travel faster if the atoms are not vibrating so quickly as they do when it is warm.
With proper care and attention, your solar panel system can last for decades, giving you clean energy. It will remain functional even if it is cloudy outside, the weather is snowy, rainy, or icy, or you wake up to a tropical storm warning!
Blue Raven Solar is Committed to You
Blue Raven Solar is committed to bringing homeowners like your premium solar equipment, service, and overall experience.
Blue Raven Solar has become one of the top solar companies in the United States, with services in several states across the nation. Everything we do is for the benefit of our customers and our team.
Find out how you can enjoy the benefits of solar energy by requesting a free quote from one of our solar experts.
Join the movement and experience the future of energy, today.