How Does the Weather Affect Solar Power's Efficiency in My House?

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Solar Panel Efficiency and Rainy, Foggy Days solar panels in bad weather

Every day, more and more people are going green. And what often goes hand in hand with going green is the dream of living your life – entirely powered by the sun. For those with the means to do it, upgrading one’s life with photovoltaic (PV) panels is a tempting improvement.  However, when some people consider investing in PV panels, they see nothing but obstacles.

And the single most major concern of these imagined obstacles tends to be weather. This article is here to dispel some of the myths and dark clouds that may be hanging around your dream of living a completely sun-fueled life.

Clouds, Rain, Fog and Solar

It’s true that your home’s solar panels will generate the most electricity on sunny days. When it’s cloudy, raining, or there’s fog in the air, your PV panels will be operating at 25-30% of their normal production. But even considering this reduction in operating efficiency, your panels will still be generating enough to power your home.

What’s more important to someone who has solar panels on their home is the amount of sun they see, day in and day out. A single cloudy day will not affect the amount of power coming into your home. Over the course of the year, there will be more than enough sunny days to meet your energy needs. Even the foggiest cities in the United States – San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, for instance – get enough days of sun each year to power their citizens’ homes.

Thunderstorms, Lightning, Wind’s Impact on Solar Efficiency

When it all comes down to it, lightning actually poses the greatest threat to PV panels. However, with the proper precautions in place, lightning will be no problem at all. Lightning is attracted to the panels, and even lightning a good deal away can cause a surge. The good news is that lightning damage is entirely preventable.

A properly installed system will come grounded. Grounding will channel the lightning around the system and disperse it safely into the earth. Most installers will ground any system they put in, but if you have concerns about it, then just ask. Also, as with any investment of this nature, make sure to get your solar panels insured.

As for wind damage, or the wind pulling the panels off your roof, it’s highly unlikely that this will ever occur. This is because most solar panels can handle winds up to 80 mph or more.

Snowstorms and Solar Panels

A thick layer of snow will halt your solar panels’ production of electricity entirely. The snow, on the other hand, is unlikely to stick to the panel in the first place, as panels do generate some heat. It’s one of the reasons solar panels are kept at an angle, to keep the accumulation from happening at all. Even if your panels do get a layer of snow, it won’t be there for long. Snow melts off the PV panels quickly, and they’ll be back to full production in no time.

Photovoltaic panel technology has been around for a while now, and one of the advantages of that is many of the troubles you could encounter have already been problem-solved. So no matter what the weather, solar panels are an option for you.

[Photo Credit: Science World Report]

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