Now that the temperature is dropping and snow has become a regular fixture here in Nova Scotia, you may be wondering if solar energy will work through the long winter months. Won’t the solar panels be covered with snow? Isn’t it too cold? Are there even enough hours of sunlight to make solar an effective option?
Solar energy is usually associated with year-round sunny climates, like California, but it actually works great all year long right here in Nova Scotia. In today’s post, we’ll clear up any winter weather concerns you may be having.
Question #1: Won’t my solar panels be covered in snow?
Surprisingly, no! Because your panels are installed on a slope, they will shed snow naturally, so you won’t need to get up on your roof to clear them off and your system will continue to function all winter long. In fact, we take snow coverage into account when creating your proposal and installing your panels to make sure you have the right slope to minimize snow accumulation. Solar panels are also generally warmer than the air temperature, so light snow cover will melt off naturally.
Also, the majority of your energy production doesn’t happen during the winter, so even if there is some snow coverage, you’ll still be good to go. A study conducted by the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology found that there was only a 1-5% energy production increase in solar panels that were cleared vs. those that weren’t. And on the off chance that there is an issue with snow coverage, leave that to us. We never recommend going up on a snow-covered roof- we’ll take care of that.
Question #2: Isn’t it too cold for solar energy to work in the winter?
Another fair question, but actually solar energy is harnessed from the light, not the temperature, of the sun. In fact, too much heat can impede the system, so our relatively temperate climate is pretty ideal. Our cold winter temperatures may be a pain for us, but for our solar energy systems, they are just fine.
Question #3: Okay, but are there enough sunlight hours to make solar an option?
Cold temperatures may not affect the system, but light does, so do we really get enough light during the winter to keep the system running? Yes, we do!
As we mentioned earlier, the majority of energy is harnessed through the rest of the year, so even with a shorter window of light during the winter, you will still have plenty of energy production from your system.
We hope this post helped to clear up any concerns you have about solar energy’s effectiveness during the winter!
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