Despite solar energy becoming more accessible and a more common method for powering American homes, there are still plenty of people out there who believe the misconception that solar panels only work in parts of the country where the weather is sunny and agreeable year-round. Solar energy is far more adaptable than some people think, especially when it comes to production in variable weather. Regardless of what part of the country you live in, solar can serve you year-round. So, in the interest of giving solar energy the credit it deserves, let’s run through a few questions about how the weather affects solar energy production.
Will my solar array produce energy on a cloudy day?
Yes, it will.
Just like you can get sunburned from being outside in overcast conditions, your rooftop solar array will still convert photons into electric current even if the skies are cloudy and overcast. It’s true that cloud cover reduces the number of photons that hit solar panels. But how much depends on a few factors like the thickness and density of the clouds. So, while you would notice a dip in energy production comparing a very sunny day with a very overcast day, the annual productivity of a rooftop solar array should amount to all the energy you need to power your home. That’s because premium solar installers like Blue Raven Solar employ tools like Google’s Project Sunroof and years of historical data to account for the typical weather patterns in your area to accurately model the energy production needs of every rooftop solar array we install. All that information gets factored into the custom design proposal for your home. The result should be enough solar energy to power your home life, day-to-day, throughout the entire year.
And, did you know?
To make solar energy as dependable as the morning sun, Blue Raven Solar offers customers a two-year productivity guarantee. Here’s how it works:
We check in with our customers to audit the production of their solar array after a year, and then again two years after installation. If any solar energy systems are found to produce less than original estimates after two years, we update them with more panels free of charge. To learn more about that, go here.
What if hail damages my solar panels?
Some states experience violent hailstorms that damage everything in their path. The possibility of severe weather may leave you worried about the possibility of damage to your panels. It’s true that extreme weather events can cause damage. But keep in mind, most panel companies do extensive testing on the effects of weather like hail and have found it takes VERY severe weather to harm the panels to the point of malfunction. In most cases, solar panels endure everything nature pelts them with, even violent storms and extreme winds. In all likelihood, your system would endure thunderstorms, windstorms, hailstorms, and heavy snow without sustaining any damage at all. And, for your own peace of mind, Blue Raven Solar uses panels that come with a manufacturer's warranty. If weather events manage to damage our solar panels, there’s a chance they had structural defects in the first place.
Plus, you can protect your rooftop solar array by including it in your homeowner’s insurance, which would cover most or all of the costs of repairing, replacing, or upgrading panels that have been damaged by act-of-god-level weather events.
What if my panels get snow and ice buildup in winter?
When snow and ice buildup on solar panels, it does present a challenge, especially if it sticks around for a while. But there are a couple of reasons why that shouldn’t happen very often. First, choosing premium, black-on-black solar panels should keep snow and ice from sticking around long-term. Apart from looking good, the black-on-black also warms quickly with sun exposure, helping to accelerate snow and ice melt-off. Once sunlight hits the panels, the snow and ice may just slide off or melt away quickly. Second, solar panels are also very slick, which helps ice and snow slide off even if the panels are not fully warmed. If snow does accumulate, waiting for the sun to melt the snow enough to clear the panels is the best option. Third, the ideal positioning for solar panels in the northern hemisphere is a south-facing aspect and tilted 45 degrees. Placing a rooftop solar array as close to due-south-facing as possible maximizes their sun exposure, which should result in minimizing the time it takes for snow and ice buildup to melt down. And the 45-degree tilt angle enables sun-softened ice and snow to slide off.
With proper care and attention, your solar panel system can last virtually for decades. It will remain functional and offer you savings on your utilities even if it is cloudy outside or the weather is snowy, rainy, or icy.