Whether you live in a warmer climate where cold weather is touch and go, or you are used to freezing temperatures all season long, you may wonder what you need to do to prep your solar system for the winter. The good news is that a SunPower solar system is low maintenance. However, there are still things you’ll probably want to know. Here are some common subjects that homeowners often have questions about.
Do solar panels produce less energy during winter months?
The simple answer is that if it’s sunny outside, you’re good to go. Summer isn’t the only season to reap benefits from your solar system. SunPower solar panels perform well in colder weather and can even generate clean energy on cloudy days. We’re known for having the most efficient panels on the market, which means that SunPower panels can generate more energy in less space. To put numbers behind it, SunPower solar panels generate 55% more energy than conventional solar panels in the same space.
Should you remove snow from your solar panels?
There are many resources out there telling homeowners how to maintain their solar system. In fact, we even wrote a blog on how to clean your solar panels. But when it comes to snow, removing it from your solar panels isn’t usually necessary. In most locations, it will melt off after a reasonable amount of time. Plus, the risk of removing snow is often greater than the reward of the increased production.
There are exceptions, however. With cases of very heavy snow where there’s a tendency for it to stay on panels for a month or more, there can be a benefit of hiring a company to come out and remove that snow. Never try to do your own snow removal in these instances – especially if mounted on a roof.
Can SunPower solar panels handle extreme winter weather?
SunPower panels are extremely durable and the reason comes down to their design. A solar panel is made up of solar cells. SunPower’s solar cells are unlike any other. For one thing, they are backed with a strong copper foundation. Most conventional solar cells feature metal tracking across the front which can be easily susceptible to the stresses of temperature change. As these thin, conventional solar cells expand and contract, they weaken.
SunPower’s patented solar cell design gives it flexibility and strength under the same circumstances. SunPower solar panels have the lowest degradation rate on the market. Degradation rate is the reduction of power output for a solar panel over time. We’re so confident about our degradation rate that we guarantee that our solar panels won’t lose more than 8% of their original DC power output within our 25-year warranty timeframe. Those conventional solar panels we were talking about earlier lose about 17% power output during the same amount of time.
What are some ways to make a home winter ready?
It’s no secret that daylight hours are shorter in the winter. However, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for your solar system if you are actively trying to conserve energy. To ensure your energy consumption isn’t surpassing your energy production, you should look for ways that you can make your home more efficient, including the following:
- Weatherproofing your home by stopping drafts with doorstoppers, weatherstripping windows and insulating electrical outlets are fairly inexpensive ways to keep out unwanted cold weather.
- Add more insulation if needed. This reduces the amount of energy needed to heat your home.
- Replace windows and doors with versions that are more efficient.
- Install a smart thermostat to help you maintain ideal temperatures when you are home, and more importantly, when you’re away.
In summary, there’s really nothing you need to do to prepare your solar system for winter weather, especially if you have SunPower’s reliable solar panels. However, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on your production and consumption* with the mySunPower app to help you maintain a low utility bill. So, enjoy your warm and cozy home knowing it’s heated with better, cleaner energy.
- *. Additional equipment may be required. Consumption monitoring is not compatible with all electrical services. Check with your installer to see if your home is eligible for electricity usage monitoring.