Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity to power your home. Based on this, it’s obvious that solar panels will perform well on a bright, sunny day, but unfortunately, the weather does not always cooperate. If you’re thinking about installing solar panels, you may be concerned about how they operate in different kinds of weather. This article will explain how weather affects your solar panels.
Solar Panels and Weather Conditions
As solar panels are normally attached to the roof, they need to withstand and perform in all sorts of weather. Below is an overview of how they perform in some of the most common weather conditions.
Solar panels operate by absorbing and converting photons from the sun into usable electricity. The sun releases these photons constantly, and the solar panels can absorb them and use them, even when not in direct sunlight. However, if the sky is cloudy or foggy, solar panel efficiency will inevitably be less than it would be on a clear, sunny day. Most experts agree that on very cloudy days, solar panels operate at about 25% efficiency. Even so, solar panels can still function in cloudy weather.
Given their electrical components, you may be concerned about how your solar panels will withstand rain. Rest assured that these panels are designed to deal with wetness and the impact of the rain. The rain may even help wash off some of the dirt and grime that has accumulated on your solar panels.
Solar panels should also be able to withstand snow and ice. Production issues arise if snow accumulates to over 2 inches on your solar panels, blocking out photons. The annual production information your installer gives you should include losses due to snow cover during the year, so there is no need to remove it. Let Mother Nature take her course.
It’s not uncommon for people to experience hail damage to their roofs, cars, or windows. However, it’s highly unlikely that your solar panels will be damaged by hail. Solar panels are built to withstand moderate hailstorms, and you likely won’t experience issues unless the hailstorm is unusually extreme.
Similarly, solar panels are built to withstand winds of at least 90 mph and are designed to meet your local permitting guidelines on wind speeds. Obviously, if your town is hit by a tornado, the panels may become damaged, but in normal storms and circumstances, well-installed solar panels will be able to stand despite high winds.
Even the temperature can impact how efficiently solar panels operate. You may be surprised to learn that solar panels actually operate better in cold weather than in hot. This is because solar panel efficiency is related to the amount of sunlight available rather than heat.
Knowing how weather affects your solar panels should give you the peace of mind you need to install panels on your home or facility.