Despite the UK averaging around 48% overcast days in the year, solar panels, both the electricity generating kind (or photovoltaic to give them their proper name) and solar hot water panels continue to operate.
But what about the Winter?
Surprisingly, solar panels work even better – especially after a fall of snow. Providing the panel itself isn’t covered, the amount of light produced by reflecting snow makes it ideal generating weather.
Solar panels also operate more efficiently in the cold – something to do with the cooling effect allowing for higher voltages being produced which results in higher wattage.
Providing the panels are clear of snow themselves, which might sound like a chore but given they should be south facing, then they’ll melt off pretty quickly.
Some owners have gone to ingenious lengths, constructing extendable brushes to clear the snow off. Be careful though that you don’t scratch the panel surface or put your safety at risk by over-reaching or using ladders etc to gain access.
Most owners just wait for the sun to melt any accumulation naturally.
One other thing you might be able to enquire about is solar panels that may have an additional coating which aids dirt and deposit washing off through natural rainfall.
A bit like the coatings you can now get on self-cleaning glass – very popular with glass roof conservatories – helping your panels maximise your return.
photo credit: david wiley