Many homeowners on Long Island that are interested in going solar worry about the impacts of winter weather on their solar system; however, there are many important factors to understand when assessing how well a solar system will function in the winter. It is common knowledge that the daily hours of solar production are less during the winter months. There is a host of other important factors to consider, such as reduced electric consumption and improved system efficiency. The winter has a very small impact on your solar systems ability to produce the power needed for your home on Long Island. Below the factors impacting the production of a solar system during winter months will be explored.
One main factor that should be considered with regards to solar panel systems ability to produce electricity during the winter months is solar panels typically produce less power in the winter. Homeowners typically consume less power during the winter. The primary reason homeowners consume less power during the winter months is because they are not running air conditioning units which are a major consumer of electricity during the summer months. The reduced electric consumption during winter months plays a major role in offsetting the lower solar production that is typically associated with the winter.
Due to the cold weather, solar systems become more efficient during the winter months. The primary reason that solar systems become more efficient during the winter is due to the fact that electrons flow more freely when it is cold, resulting in higher system efficiency and less voltage drop. Solar systems produce more power during the summer months because of the increased hours of sunlight; the system functions more efficiently during the winter due to the improved electricity flow from the cold.
Yet another often held concern about solar power in the winter is the impact of snow on solar panels. While solar panels do not produce if they are covered with snow, typically snow will only cover solar panels for 1-2 days. Due to the color and material of solar panels, they heat up at a much more rapid rate than the rest of the roof. This causes snow to melt quickly from solar panels on the first sunny day following a snowstorm. Having snow on the ground can actually boost the production of a solar system thanks to the increased solar reflection of the snow as compared to normal ground cover.
In spite of the reduced electricity consumption during the winter and the increased efficiency of the solar system, it is still difficult for a solar system to meet homes electrical demand during the winter months. Luckily, net-metering programs on Long Island allow for monthly energy credits generated during the summer to roll over to the winter months when they are needed. In other words, if your solar system produces excess energy during the summer months on Long Island, the excess energy rolls over to the next month. This allows you to build up energy credits for the winter when your system might not be producing enough energy to cover your entire electric bill. In order to better understand how net metering credits roll over consider the examples below.
It is important to understand that net-metering allows for a solar system to be designed and sized to meet the home’s annual energy consumption. It ultimately makes the systems month to month production less important. For example, if a home typically consumes 10,000kwh of electricity a year, a system will be designed to meet that specific consumption. When designing a solar system to meet a home’s annual consumption it is known that the system will produce more power in the summer than the winter. However, thanks to roll over net-metering energy credit the excess power produced during summer months is rolled over to the winter months when the system might not produce enough power to meet the homes demand.
Overall when considering solar power in the winter there is very little to worry about. Firstly, electric bills are typically lower in the winter. Secondly, solar panel systems function more efficiently in the cold winter temperatures. Third, if it does snow the accumulation will quickly melt off the solar panels on the first sunny day. Lastly, if your solar panel system does not produce enough power on its own during the winter months there will be rollover energy credits from the high producing months of the summer.
If you’re interested in adding power to your house and cutting down on your electricity bills, give us a call at (631) 509-1747 of fill out our contact forms.