Solar panels can still function in bad weather conditions like heavy rains and snow. Cloudy weather or indirect sunlight can only diminish the efficiency of solar. This means you will still have power even when the sun’s not shining.
Although solar can work in bad weather, some extreme conditions can cause severe damages. If you live in an extreme climate, you must ensure that your solar installation can withstand bad weather. Otherwise, you may have to spend money repairing or replacing damaged components.
This post will look into how solar panels fare in different bad weather scenarios.
Read on to see how proper installation can prolong the lifespan of your solar energy system.
Can solar panels work in bad weather?
Solar panels from quality brands can work in bad weather conditions like snow, rain, and strong winds. Thanks to advances in solar panel design, they can now withstand hailstorms. However, the power production of solar panels reduces with cloudy weather but resumes once the sky clears.
Since solar manufacturers know that their panels will be exposed to the weather for many decades, they design them for that purpose. Modern solar panels are durable, as they come with a dust-proof, water-resistant and corrosion-proof design.
The best manufacturers offer a 25 to 30 warranty for electricity production and a 10 to 12-year warranty to protect against manufacturing defects. Make sure you purchase high-quality panels that can withstand harsh weather.
In addition, get a professional to perform the installation. You want the panels to be attached firmly to the roof to avoid getting blown away by strong winds.
How does bad weather impact your solar system?
Cloudy conditions are the worst weather condition for solar. Bad weather can diminish the amount of sunlight reaching your panels. Although it won’t cause any damages to the solar panels, it can reduce its electricity production and efficiency.
Manufacturers consider the weather when designing, creating, and installing solar panels. They understand that solar energy systems require maximum exposure to sunlight, which also means exposure to other weather conditions.
Cloudy weather means reduced sunlight. It is the most extreme weather scenario for solar, lowering the panels’ efficiency. However, the effects of cloudy weather on solar are only temporary, as mentioned earlier.
Many different scenarios surround extreme weather. So, let’s explore the most common conditions and see how solar panels fare.
Do solar panels work when it rains?
Solar PV systems can still produce electricity even when it’s raining. Although solar panels are most effective when exposed to direct sunlight, they can also use indirect sunlight. You can expect your panels to produce around 10 to 25% of their optimal capacity on rainy days.
The amount of electricity production from your photovoltaic panels on a rainy day will depend on how heavy the rain and cloud coverage is overhead. However, after the storm, your panels will become even more efficient. This is because the water has washed away all the dust, dirt, and pollen.
Will solar panels charge in lightning strikes and hailstorms?
Although rare, a direct lightning strike can be detrimental to a solar panel system. Indirect strikes are more likely to occur and can result in high-voltage surges. Hailstorms can also damage various components of your solar PV system.
Do solar panels work in the snow?
Due to snow accumulation, solar panels stop producing electricity when sunlight cannot get to the solar cells. But this blanket of snow cannot damage the panels permanently. Power generation will resume once the snow melts or is removed by the wind.
Snow accumulation is not an issue when solar is installed on roofs with high slopes, as the snow slides off before it gets a chance to build up.
Solar panels after tornados and hurricanes
Most manufacturers build their solar panels to withstand up to 140 mph wind. For most tornadoes, the range in wind speeds is between 40 to 112 mph. In extreme winds, the solar panels may damage due to debris smashing into them.
Can solar panels work in extreme cold?
Many places where solar is common in Australia have plenty of cold days throughout the year. Solar can work in extremely cold weather because the sun still rises each day in cold climates. Your photovoltaic panels produce electricity from sunlight, not air temperature.
One popular misconception about solar is that panels work best in hot temperatures. But the key element is sunlight, not heat. We associate warm climates with sunlight, but the sun also shines in cold climates.
You have nothing to worry about if you live in an extremely cold climate. However, you should be concerned about extremely hot temperatures, as they can damage your solar panels. Temperatures higher than 149 degrees (F) can cause your solar panels to lose their efficiency.
What is a proper solar installation that will withstand bad weather?
To install solar that can withstand bad weather, you must use properly trained installers with years of experience and Clean Energy Council accreditation. Also, make sure you choose a solar company that is confident in its abilities. They should guarantee quality and service and offer a five to ten-year quality warranty.
It would also be best to go for good manufacturers that guarantee quality and durability. Your roof’s slope is another key factor determining how well your panels will withstand bad weather. A roof sloped 22 to 23 degrees northeast or west-facing is perfect.
A colorbond roof is even better, as it helps to avoid cracked tiles. Homes that were not built from the ground up may not house the perfect solar system. In this case, installers can provide a better angle by using tilted racking.
Your home’s roof needs to meet Australian standards to house the perfect solar system. 50% of installations require tile grinding to protect against potential water leaks into the roof. The installer needs to take necessary measures to prevent cracking or leaking in the future.
Use a Dektite (or similar) to seal all cable entry points. Full-sized genuine flashings ensure that all cable entries are watertight. Cables should hang under the solar panels and touch the roof.
The installer can fix all cabling to the panels and rails with stainless steel cable clips. Your solar energy system must also have isolators at the inverter, roof, and switchboard. You need high-quality isolators to avoid system failure due to deterioration of the sun.
Ensure your solar energy system comes with all the required components to avoid system failure.
Most manufacturers build their solar panels to withstand extreme weather conditions. Some solar energy systems are even specially designed for extreme climates.
Solar panels can work in bad weather, though with reduced efficiency due to less sunlight exposure. The good news is your solar will reach its maximum output again when the sun is shining. Even in bad weather, you will get the most out of a well-installed solar energy system.
Proper solar installation is an excellent way to ensure durability. So, make sure you choose a solar company that guarantees quality and service.
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