08 Jan Do Solar Panels Produce Power in the Winter in Maine?
Contrary to popular belief, solar panels can produce a lot of electricity during the winter months. Although the days are shorter, the temperatures are lower. Solar panel efficiency is actually higher in the winter months than it is during the dog days of summer.
Solar panel efficiency is higher in cooler weather
Solar cells lose some efficiency when it is too hot, reducing output. When the temperature increases beyond the optimum level, solar panel efficiency decreases. In fact, hot summer days are not necessarily the best for solar energy production. An hour during a bright but cool winter day can have greater solar energy output than an hour during a hot summer day.
Maine has relatively sunny winters
Another important consideration of winter solar electricity production is the weather. In Maine, there is a lot of sunny weather in the winter. On average, December, January, February, and March are some of the sunnier months.
Snow has little effect on total solar energy output
Many solar enthusiasts are also concerned about the impact of snow on solar electricity production. Unfortunately, when solar panels are covered with snow, they produce little if any electricity.
The good news is that Sundog Solar has nine years of experience installing solar panels in Maine and takes snow into account when calculating the projected electricity output of a solar system. Whenever possible, we install solar panels facing south and at an angle. This means that snow can more easily slide off of the panels, especially once the sun comes out and starts to warm the panels. Because of their dark color, the temperature of the solar panels increases relatively easily when the sun is out.
Do not rake snow off of solar panels
At Sundog Solar, we do not recommend raking snow off of solar panels. This can be dangerous and can even damage the solar panels or the roof. We recommend waiting for the sun to do the work for you. Although there is a lot of snowfall in Maine, the impact on total solar electricity production is relatively small overall.