Solar Power - Does work in the cold & rain?

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Solar Power – Does Work In The Cold & Rain?​

What’s the science behind solar panels and temperature?


Even in below-freezing weather, solar panels turn sunlight into electricity. That’s because solar panels absorb energy from our sun’s abundant light, not the sun’s heat. In fact, cold climates are actually optimal for solar panel efficiency. So long as sunlight is hitting a solar panel, it will generate electricity. Any diminished output during the winter months will primarily be due to heavy snow and shorter daylight hours.


So, how do solar panels work? When sunlight photon particles hit solar panel photovoltaic cells, electrons in the silicon are put into motion. This creates an electric current, which is sent to your home’s electric distribution box to power your essential items. A rechargeable solar battery can help store this electricity so you can still use solar energy at night, during peak electricity usage, or when the grid goes down.


Remember how electrons move around atoms? Electrons are at rest (low energy) in cooler temperatures. When these electrons are activated by increasing sunlight (high energy), a greater difference in voltage is attained by a solar panel, which creates more energy. That’s why solar cells produce electricity more efficiently when it’s colder.


In the winter, it’s also less likely for solar panels to reach their peak temperature, or peak power. Once their temperature rises above that peak temperature, solar panel performance decreases. 


Research has demonstrated that panels begin losing efficiency around 77ºF. However, this diminished efficiency is balanced out thanks to more daylight hours during the spring and summer months.


Do solar panels work when it rains?


The sun still delivers daylight to solar panels through the rain and clouds. Although solar panels are most productive in direct sunlight, they can still use diffuse or indirect sunlight (radiation) to generate energy. 


Rainy days and clouds cause diffuse light. But what’s the difference? Direct light is solar radiation traveling in a straight line from the sun down to the earth’s surface. Diffuse light is sunlight that has been scattered by particles in the atmosphere yet still reaches the earth. Thus, the amount of electricity generated is dependent on the density of cloud cover.


Though energy production decreases with increasingly dense cloud cover, panels continue working to a greater capacity than one may expect. Rain also helps wash away dust on panels to keep them operating efficiently.


Do solar panels work in snow?


We’ve learned that solar panels thrive in colder temperatures, but what happens when it snows? 


The good news is that even when covered with snow, solar panels can generate electricity.


Sunlight still reaches solar panels through snow and keeps solar cells producing energy. Solar panels’ dark, reflective glass accelerates snow melt and it slides off before it hampers performance. Installation racks are also typically tilted up at 30 to 45 degrees, which keeps snow from accumulating (to a point). A light dusting of snow is likely to blow off or disappear rapidly. 


In fact, on cold, clear days, snow from the ground can reflect extra sunlight onto your solar panels like a mirror. This “albedo effect” enables panels to produce even more electricity in the cold.


Tags :      Battery, Energy,  Advantages, Benefits

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