Oh the weather outside is… sunny. It’s Southern California. If you live outside of California, though, you could get the occasional snowfall here and there. If you live way up North over on the East Coast, it’s like having a prodigal sun. (Pun so very intended.) But in the search for reliable, renewable energy sources, how does solar stand up to extreme weather conditions? Does it even make sense to try and install solar if you’re like to have a string of days, weeks, or months with rains, winds, clouds, and even snow? Hard to tell. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and depending on what team is writing the info could be slanted one way or another. While you might stop yourself after reading that and think, ‘But, you’re a solar company so you’re invested in convincing me.’ Fair. However, there is science and fact on our side. Read on to learn how durable – and reliable – solar panels are for home energy creation.
To get us all on the same page, let’s recap how solar panels work. Your panels are made up of crystalline silicon (in a pure or hybrid form) and that silicon reacts with the light it receives and converts it into energy. When your energy uses less home, that solar powered energy is stored into a battery and used later in the day, or week or month, when your home uses more energy for lighting, heating, washing, etc. It’s the circle of life that begins and ends and continues ad nauseum with each new day. While a cloudy day decreases the efficiency of your panels, it’s only when there is no sun whatsoever that your panels aren’t able to create energy.
Rain is what Californian’s are most likely to experience during the “winter” months. Rain is actually not at all bad for solar panels. On the contrary, it’s quite good. Dust gets kicked up all the time. Birds flying overhead drop their little packages onto poor unsuspecting cars, people, and panels. In short, like anything else it gets a bit dirty over time. Rain naturally washes away whatever grime exists. After a good rain, your panels perform at better efficiency.
You didn’t honestly think scientists would take all that time and go through all the trouble of developing, refining, and marketing solar panels only for them to be damaged by routine weather, did you? In the midwest, Tornado alley, hail is quite common. Your panels, however, are built to withstand hail up to the size of a golf-ball. It takes some extreme force and size to damage your panels from hail.
It’s a lot like rain. When you have a light dusting of snow, there’s not really any change in the effectiveness of your panels. It can often be blown off by any winds. Heavy snow does, however, block the panels from receiving light – which they need to create energy. But, as soon as it warms up and the thick blanket of snow starts to slide off, just like its cousin Rain, snow cleans off your panels better than anything. Any little bits of debris on your panels will bond with the snow and get carried away. You could always scurry up a ladder and brush it off to keep things running smoothly. … But who would want to do that when it’s so cozy and warm inside by the fire?