Solar Energy Production in Summer vs. Winter

Regardless of what time of year it is, switching over to solar energy is a savvy investment in your home or business. Being able to harness the immense energy of the sun and put it to work powering your home can help you save a bundle on your energy costs. However, as the year ticks by and seasons change, the amount energy your panels produce will change along with it. It’s extremely important to know how this change will affect you and your energy expenses, particularly from a planning standpoint. So on this blog, we’ll discuss the big difference between summer and winter solar panel energy production to help you get a better picture of annual solar panel performance.


Energy Influences

In a perfect world, your panels would produce the exact same amount of energy every single day, giving you full control knowledge over how much energy they produce and allowing you to tailor your power demands to match. However, there are plenty of factors that change how much energy your panels produce, and many of those factors are dependent on the season.


These factors include:

  • Geographic location
  • Time of day
  • Time of year (season)
  • Landscape
  • Atmospheric conditions

Let’s take a closer look at these

Geographic Location
Our geographic location, and change in seasons has a significant influence over the amount of daylight your panels will see each day. The shorter days in the winter and fall will decrease solar energy production. It’s pretty easy to notice how much quicker the nights seem to get dark during winter months, and yes, that will have an effect on your solar panel system’s production. Fewer hours of daylight means less time for your panels to produce energy, which then means you’ll need to rely more on public utility energy.

Time of Day

Daylight hours tend to shift during winter months as well, and this isn’t necessarily due to daylight savings time coming to an end. When winter sets in, the sun rises later in the morning and then sets earlier in the evening, which does change how much power your solar panels can produce. It also
changes the time at which your system will change over to public utility energy, which could influence how much your energy costs.


Time of Year

Summer is here and bringing on the season of abundance of sunshine, swimming, air conditioning, and barbecues. With the triple digit weather upon us and the uncontrollable result of high electric bills; it is important to somehow forecast how much to budget to cover the cost of your electrical utilities, and to manage energy usage.

The longer days of summer allow us to generate more solar power which can be stored and used on days that are shorter when there is less energy generated.

Atmospheric Conditions

It’s no secret that winter is subject to more days of cloudy or even rainy weather. These conditions reduce the amount of sunlight your panels are exposed to, which in turn limits the amount of energy they can produce. This doesn’t mean your lights will turn off on cloudy days, but it does mean that you may find yourself relying on more power from the public grid than you would during a clear day without a cloud in the sky.


Landscape

With the sun setting earlier comes concerns as to where your home is located. California isn’t exactly a flat state, and while the Central Valley has miles and miles of sprawling farmland, there are areas in the mountains that could find themselves in shade sooner than an area out along the coastline. These areas in particular are hit harder by the faster-setting sun, as they lose their direct sunlight sooner than others.


What to Expect From Solar In Winter

So this brings up the question: does solar become essentially useless during winter months? The answer: absolutely not, in fact quite the opposite. For starters, solar panels actually run more efficient during cool winter months because the cool weather allows for a more even flow of electricity from your panels into your home. Likewise, the colder weather actually helps keep your panels cool, which increases their lifespan and longevity as well.

Nations like China, Germany, and Japan are all world leaders in solar energy, and they’re all significantly further to the north than California is. That means you can still enjoy the benefits of solar during winter, just to a different level. For example, many California residents will take advantage of friendly net-metering laws to build up a substantial credit during the summer months when their panels produce the most energy, and then use the credit to help offset the increased utility bill costs during winter.

For more information about solar power during the winter months, talk to the experts from SunPower® by Quality Home Services by dialing (800) 496-3074 today!

Categories