One question people often ask is whether purchasing a PV system in cold and snowy climates is worth the investment. With low temperatures and snow, how could a solar power system produce electricity? Though these are reasonable fears, experience has shown that winter solar is not as problematic as it first appears.
Many would be solar panel owners are switched off by the thought that snowfall and cold temperatures reduce the potential output of their solar arrays. While it is true that snow build-up can hamper a panel’s ability to produce, this dip in output is only significant in systems installed on low slope roofs and only during winter months. But the concern about efficiency of panels in the cold temperatures is unfounded. In fact cold temperature improves panel efficiency; PV temperature reduction of about 20°C leads to a 9 to 12% increase in electrical yield.
Even in the case of the low slope roofs snow build up could happen only during the winter months during which sun angle is also low. Due to this solar PV production is lower during winter months regardless of roof slopes. On the other hand sun hours during summer months are longer compared to tropical locations hence production during our summer months is high compared to other locations.
During winter months snow on the ground tends to reflect the sun’s light back upward. This reflected light, hits angled panels, adding to the direct light from the sun and help to increase energy yields. These two effects in combination can result in higher output from panels on a clear snowy day than the average summer day when one would expect output to be highest.
Even after factoring in the snowy cold winter months, a solar power installation will undoubtedly help curb a consumer’s annual energy bill. With net metering most of potential solar PV system owners can produce the entire amount of electricity they use in a 12 month period from solar regardless of the cold snowy climate in Canada. In fact many of our past customers’ solar PV systems are generating more electricity than they use.
As the storage prices are coming down we have even started working with people who want to opt for off-grid and be entirely free from the grid. As the electricity price increases and aging utility infrastructure become more problematic this number will increase substantially.
At New Dawn Energy Solutions we custom design the best possible solar power systems to suite your needs. We are looking forward to working with you to find the best possible solution for your needs; feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org / 416-855-9377 to see how we can help you to take control of your energy cost.