It is wintertime in most parts of the world. And solar panel owners may be worried that their systems will not be working at its optimal because of the snow and the shortened sunlight hours.
Working Condition During Winter
Although it cannot collect most of the sunlight, unlike during the summer, solar panels still work during winter. The cold weather is also favourable for the working condition of the panels as too much heat can also damage the solar units. There are shorter sunlight hours in the winter, but solar panels can still efficiently produce electricity as long as there is sunlight. The presence of snow may also slow down the absorption of heat, but the panels’ dark surface is designed to attract heat and eventually melt the snow. Panels are also installed at a tilted angle to prevent the accumulation of snow and water. On the other hand, the surrounding white snow can also act as a reflective material that helps increase the energy production of the solar panels.
Maintenance During Winter
Keeping your solar system in good condition during winter will ensure that it can produce the highest output and continue to work until the next season. Winter season can create a harsh condition for your panels due to the blizzard-like snowfall and water accumulation due to the melted snow. So it is essential to know how to care for the different components of your solar system.
For the panels to produce the highest output, you should remove snow covering it. If too much snow is already covering the panels, you can use a snow rake to gently brush off the snow or use a water hose to wipe it off the roof. Although solar arrays are positioned in an angle, there could still be an accumulation of water from the snow’s melting, so look out for too much snow build-up.
The cold temperature during winter can affect the performance of the batteries. Different batteries have different temperature tolerability or their maximum and minimum temperature range. It is also recommended to attach a thermometer within the battery to monitor its temperature easily. Insulating the battery could be helpful. It is also better to store your batteries in a dry place but with ideal temperature when not in use. To avoid your batteries getting depleted, you can opt to charge your battery through a trickle charger. You should maintain the battery voltage at 12 Volts DC, and if it falls below that, it is time to charge it.
Solar Inverters and Charge Controllers
Solar inverters and charge controllers are also essential components of the solar system. An inverter converts the direct current and changes it to alternating current, which can be readily used as electricity. Charge controller limits or controls the amount and rate by which electricity is stored to the batteries from the solar unit. Both these components are durable but should also be stored in a place with a temperature ranging from -31 degrees Fahrenheit to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. If you need to use the charge controllers during the winter season, the typical temperature usage would be -31 degrees to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. For the inverter, it would be -4 degrees to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
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