Solar Panels and Harsh Climates: What's Right for You?
Solar panels produced by quality brands can continue to work in harsh climates with rain, snow and strong winds. Advances in the design of solar panels mean that they are now also able to cope with hailstones. Cloudy weather can reduce the amount of power that solar panels produce but will return to normal when the sky clears.
Solar manufacturers were absolutely only too well aware that their panels were going to be exposed to the elements for many years and even decades to come, so they were designed to be able to withstand those elements. Modern solar panels are even more durable, coming with a design that is resistant to corrosion, dust and water.
The most reputable solar panel manufacturers offer warranties with their products that cover up to as long as thirty years for the production of electricity and up to as much as twelve years protection against manufacturing defects. This is why it is so important to make sure you buy high quality panels that will be able to withstand harsh climates.
In some cases it may even be possible to buy specialist options for harsher climates.
How is a solar system affected by the elements?
Harsh weather conditions can cut down on the amount of sunlight that will reach your solar panels, which can reduce their production of electricity and overall efficiency but will not damage the panels themselves.
The weather is taken into account by manufacturers when they create, design and install solar panels as they understand that their energy systems need the most sunlight exposure they can get, which inevitably also means exposing them to other weather conditions.
The most extreme weather conditions for solar panels are actually just cloudy weather, as it lowers the efficiency of the panels, though these effects are only temporary. So how do solar panels function in other weather conditions?
Rain does not prevent solar PV systems from producing electricity. Although solar panels are at their most effective when exposed to direct sunlight, indirect sunlight can still be used. How much electricity your solar panels will be able to produce on a rainy day will be dependent on the heaviness of the rain and overhead cloud coverage. The good news however is that your solar panels will likely become even more efficient than they were before after the rain as dirt, dust and pollen will have been washed away.
Hailstones and lightning
While a solar panel system could be harmed by a direct lightning strike, though this is rare. An indirect lightning strike, which is more likely, could cause high voltage surges and hailstones could cause damage.
Production of electricity by solar panels could be compromised if enough snow accumulates to prevent sunlight from reaching the solar cells, but once the snow is removed or melts power generation will resume with no permanent damage done.
Even in temperatures that are below freezing, solar panels can still turn sunlight into electricity and cold climates in many ways work even better for the efficiency of solar panels.