Solar PV FAQs: Do solar panels still work in winter?

FAQ #1 The weather isn’t as warm in winter – does this mean my panels won’t generate as much electricity?

The good news is solar panels rely on the sun’s light, rather than heat. This means you don’t need to worry about temperature affecting how well your solar panels work during the winter months.

This may surprise you but when temperatures creep up too high during the summer, this heat can actually make your solar panels less efficient. So cold, bright conditions can sometimes beat those scorching hot summer ones when it comes to solar panel efficiency.

FAQ #2 But it’s not as sunny in winter – will my panels still produce electricity?

Absolutely! They will still work. There do tend to be more overcast days during winter (though probably not too many more than we get in a typical British summer!) so naturally this will impact your solar generation – but only slightly.

To find out just how much more energy your solar panels generate in summer vs winter, we’d recommend connecting your solar monitoring equipment to an energy data analysis tool (you can do this by linking either of our Solo PV monitors with our energynote app) to compare your solar data for the two time frames.

FAQ #3 Do the shorter days affect solar power?

Fewer hours of sunshine, coupled with the sun being lower in the sky during the winter months, mean less sunlight will reach your solar panels – unless your PV array is able to adjust itself to account for the changing angle of the sun. This means that your panels probably won’t produce quite as much energy as they would in summer. But it’s not all doom and gloom – even in deepest, darkest December when days are at their shortest you still have around eight hours of daylight to make the most of.

FAQ #4 What if it snows?

Never fear! Though snow might collect on your solar panels, blocking the sun’s rays, a little bit of snow should melt quickly or glide off the smooth surface of your panels.

If it snows quite a bit though you’ll need to ask a professional to help clear your panels. Get in touch with your PV installer for more advice.

But it’s not all bad news, the snow may even, in some instances, boost solar power output in the short term – since the snow reflects even more of the sun’s rays back onto your panels.

So, my solar panels will work in winter?

Yes they certainly will, though they may not generate energy quite as efficiently as they would in the summer months with their longer, sunnier days.

But it’s worth remembering that even though your PV might not be generating quite as much energy, there’s no reason why you can’t still make the most of the power that you’ve generated. By using a solar monitoring device like our Solo II PV or Solo III PV, for instance, you’ll be able to see exactly when the best times to switch your home appliances on are to make the most of the energy that you’ve generated.

Remember: if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!

Got any more solar questions for us?

If you still have any burning solar questions, either get in touch with us, or pop them in the comments box below and we’ll answer them for you. We’d love to hear from you!

Your comments

  • Thank you for clearing things up quite a bit. People are often worried that the winter months will greatly affect the efficiency of their solar panels, but unless the weather actually does significant damage to the panels, they should be just fine.

    Posted by: John on 20 April 2016 at 5:43 pm

  • Thanks very much for reading, John! We’re glad to hear you found the blog post helpful. Sounds like you’re quite a solar savvy person yourself – you’ll have to let us know if there are ever any other solar-related topics you’d like to see us cover on the site. Have a great week 🙂 Michelle

    Posted by: Michelle Harrison on 21 April 2016 at 9:36 am