Will My Solar Panels Work in Winter?

Most of us experience long, sunny days in Summer, and short, often cloudy days during Winter. A rooftop solar system is impacted by this seasonal change as well, likely producing more power in the Summer when sunshine is abundant and days are long. This leaves homeowners wondering if they’ll continue to generate enough power as the shorter Winter days approach. 

Sunlight By Season

As a solar owner, it’s important to understand sunlight by season since your energy generation might fluctuate depending on the time of year. Peak sun hours by season are 6-8 hours in Summer, 4-7 hours in Fall, 4-4.5 hours in Winter, and 4-6 hours in Spring. This means that in the U.S., solar panels yield the highest energy production in the Summer months, followed by Fall and Spring. 

As the angle of the sun shifts through the seasons, it directly impacts the amount of sunlight hitting your solar panels. Residents in the Northeast will experience a more noticeable change in energy production duruing the Winter months, while Florida residents will see very little impact due to their closer proximity to the equator. 

Optimal Performance In Cool Weather

Solar energy generation isn’t impacted solely by changes in daylight hours – certain seasons bring different weather, as well. Spring is known for ample rain showers, which means more cloudy days. Winter brings snowshowers and snowstorms, which also means heavier cloud coverage. The one seasonal factor that has very little impact on energy generation is temperature. A little-known fact is that solar panels actually perform better in cooler weather, with optimal efficiency between 45-75 degrees Fahrenheit. So a crisp, sunny day in Spring or Fall means your solar panels can generate just as much power as during a long, hot, sunny day in Summer. 

Designing a Solar System Around Seasonality

When you choose a solar provider like Smart Green Solar, part of our process is assessing your energy usage, along with your home’s location, roof size, direction, peak sun hours, seasonality, and more, to ensure a system is designed that maximizes your solar energy generation potential. A custom design is created based on the specifics of your home so that you have the ideal system in place to cover all your home energy needs— summer, spring, fall and winter.

Considering solar? Use our Solar Savings Calculator to obtain a custom solar savings estimate for your home. We invite you to learn more about Smart Green Solar, our core values, and our unique approach–which has led to us becoming a leading full-service provider in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

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