Did you know that Germany is and has been the world leader in solar energy? Germany has a snowy and cold climate during its winter and that’s not stopping them from going solar. So, how exactly does snow affect your solar panels and their energy output? Solar panels can still function in light snow fall. As long as sunlight is not blocked completely, the solar panels will continue to generate power.
Once a portion of the panel becomes covered with snow, however, the solar panel cannot take in sunshine to create electricity. You should know that your total energy usage is determined over the course of the entire year. This means that differences in output during the winter are compensated for at other times in the year, so technically, light snowfall does not drastically affect your total energy output.
Solar panels are also surprisingly resilient. Snow buildup on solar panels melts quicker than the surrounding snow because of a mirror effect caused by the reflective properties of the solar panels and the snow on the ground. As with heavy snow, solar panels can be designed at an angle to allow snow to slip off naturally. This also helps to clean the solar panel, which in turn increases their efficiency and energy output. The reflection from the snow reflects sunlight back to the panel, which provides more sunlight and more energy. In fact, it has been reported that homeowners and commercial buildings in snowy, cold climates have seen higher efficiency in their solar systems than similar systems in the warm, summer climates.
Overall, it makes sense for the majority of business owners and home-owners to go solar even in colder climates. It all comes down to how the system is designed, and that is up to your solar integrator. Pairing with the right commercial integrator is key to installing a solar system that can handle your climate and maximize energy output.