Does solar power work in the winter?

While you’re busy buying winter clothes and stocking up on rock salt to clear outdoor areas, you might be wondering if your solar panels will work throughout the nippy spell. The good news is they are powered by light, not heat, so they will continue to fuel your home all year round.

As solar panels work by absorbing energy from the sun and converting it to electrical energy, however, they will not be as effective during the dark months. Shorter daylight hours and overcast conditions mean they will often produce proportionately less energy than in summer, but you should still have enough to heat your swimming pool or warm your house.

The panel’s collectors also need to be kept clear, in order to channel the sun’s radiation and charge the photo-voltaic cells. Therefore, if there’s a heavy snowfall or the panel is covered in leaves, it’s a good idea to sweep anything off. This will ensure that they are getting access to as much light as possible, before darkness sets in for the night.

According to British Gas, a solar PV system should produce 60-70 per cent of your home’s electricity needs throughout the year, so it’s definitely worth making the most of this renewable energy source. If you want to make this green power go further, try using it sparingly by taking a shower instead of a bath and washing your clothes at a lower temperature. These small lifestyle changes could make a difference and will help you get through the dark months cheaply and efficiently.

Like the idea of solar panels but have yet to make the switch? Well then it’s definitely worth thinking about – but there are several things to consider. If you don’t own the freehold or have a leasehold property, you’ll have to seek permission before you have the panels installed. Similarly, if you live in a basement or mid-floor flat, or don’t already have a metered electricity supply, your residency may not be suitable.

What’s more, if your property is a listed building or is heavily shaded with a north facing roof space, you might have to look for an alternative. Despite the restrictions, solar panels sit neatly on a wide range of properties and can be kept in tip-top condition throughout the dark months by using the appropriate winter safety tools such as a soft roof rake and a pair of gloves.

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Business entrepreneur & money saving expert. Blogging in many niches since 2004.

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