Solar FAQ: Do Solar Panels Work In Winter?

We live in the UK, a country that’s well known for its gloomy and unpredictable weather. As such, when considering whether to install solar panels, a lot of people are understandably concerned.

With less than half the average hours of sunshine than countries like Spain, UK homeowners are right in being concerned. But we still see an enormous number of homes having solar panels installed, so what’s the truth?

Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight?

This is somewhat of a complicated question because I could answer both yes and no.

Let’s start with the good news, your solar panels won’t need direct sunlight all day every day. While there is an optimal amount of direct sunlight needed (I’ll talk more about this later on), your panels will still continue to create energy even when the sun isn’t shining directly onto them.

However, it is recommended that your solar panels have at least four hours of direct sunlight every day if they’re going to generate enough energy to efficiently power your home.

Even when it is overcast and gloomy, rays from the sun will still penetrate the clouds and power your panels.

Of course, the only time that your solar panels won’t be generating energy is at night when the sun has gone down.

How Many Hours Of Sunlight Do Solar Panels Need Each Day?

The more hours of direct sunlight your panels receive each day, the more powerful and efficient they will be.

Living in the UK doesn’t mean that solar panels aren’t a good sustainable energy option but we do have to carefully consider their angle and orientation. This allows you to position your panels in such a way that they receive as much direct sunlight as possible.

As I mentioned earlier, most solar panel manufacturers suggest a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight every day.

We should also keep in mind that solar technology has come a long way in recent years and continues to be developed. This means that panels may perform better in the shade than they used to.

But even if your solar panels are not getting the recommended four hours of direct sunlight every day, they’ll still generate energy. It simply means that the amount of power generated will be slightly less than if the panels were being blasted by the sun all day long.

Will My Solar Panels Work In Winter?

Knowing that solar panels will still work on a cloudy day gives us hope that we can still take advantage of this eco-friendly form of energy.

Your solar panels will still work in winter, there is no doubt about that. However, the amount of power they generate will likely decrease compared to the summer months when there are more hours of sunlight each day and this light will be less likely to be hindered by clouds.

The sun’s rays are incredibly powerful and can easily penetrate through the clouds. I’m sure your parents told you as a child that you’d still need SPF on an overcast day and they were right; the UV rays still make their way through.

Of course, how well the rays make it to your panels will depend on things like the density of the clouds and whether there are objects casting shade onto the panels, among other things.

Additionally, I have heard a lot of people saying that they believe their solar panels won’t work in cooler temperatures. Let me assure you that energy production from solar panels is not dictated by how warm or how cool it is.

This means that, on a clear winter day with lots of direct sunlight, your solar panels will still create as much energy as they would given the same exposure on a hot day.

However, one thing that you should keep in mind is that the presence of snow on your solar panels could affect their ability to absorb sunlight. This is because the snow can reflect light back up. For this reason, it is advisable to clear any snow (and other debris) from your solar panels.

The Importance Of Installing A Solar Battery

Solar panels are a great way to boost your home’s sustainability and lower your energy bills. But without a solar battery, you’re relying on the power that’s produced each day.

Naturally, your solar panels are going to generate far more energy on a clear, sunny day than they would on a rainy, overcast day. While they will still work, you may find that they don’t produce quite as much power and this means dipping into the grid and increasing your energy bill.

But there is a viable solution and that comes in the form of solar batteries. These batteries can be added to your system at the time of installation or at a later date and are designed to store excess energy for use at a later date.

So, if your panels generate a whopping amount of power on a sunny day but the sky is grey and cloudy the next, that excess energy can be used to ensure you never run out of sustainable power.

Final Thoughts

The term solar panel tells us that these panels need the sun to work. While that’s true, it doesn’t mean that they’ll fail if there are a few clouds in the sky.

In fact, many homes successfully generate solar power all year round, including in the depths of winter.

While not as much power will be produced on a cloudy day, you can add a solar battery for maximum performance and energy storage.

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