How to Maximize Solar Power’s Efficiency in Colder Climates

Solar Power Isn’t Just for Southern Climates Anymore

How to Maximize Solar Power's Efficiency in Colder Climates

The design, manufacture, and installation of solar power systems has come a long way in the last few decades. The industry once populated by cutting-edge, if a bit clunky, tech was great at converting the sun’s rays into electricity during the brightest parts of the day in areas that rarely suffered from clouds in the sky.

These days, the efficiency of solar power generating systems and energy storage has improved so much that solar power is a viable alternative to conventional energy in all but the most weather-plagued of areas in the United States.

Keeping in mind that solar panels convert the sun’s light and not its heat into electricity, it can be a bit easier to understand how solar power could work in areas with less than 365 days of sunlight every year. Even on the cloudiest of winter days in the deepest Northwestern rain forest, the sun’s light still makes it through.

And, while you wouldn’t be able to convert as much of the sun’s light into power on a cloudy or snowy day as you can on a clear day, with a little know-how and effort, you can still enjoy the free power that the sun is shining down on you in even the coldest of climates. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

How to Beat the Snow

Working with a well-qualified local solar installer should help considerably with the issues that snow can present to the average solar power system. Selecting the appropriate angle on your rooftop and to the sun will help to ensure that your solar panels are exposed to as much of the sun’s light as possible, while accumulating as little snow as possible.

Since snow can block a great deal of the sun’s light, you might also consider adopting the habit of going out periodically to bounce a tennis ball lightly off your solar panels to help them shed snow accumulation.

But What if It Snows Several Feet Where I Live?

There are many northern and mountain environments in which several feet of snow accumulation are the norm each winter. In these areas, it is even more important that you are working with a well-qualified local installer who has experience installing systems so they can avoid the negative effects of snow build-up.

You don’t want snow to pile up at the base of your panels, blocking the light they need to work. Consider working the removal of snow from the area around your solar panels into your walkway and driveway shoveling routine.

Bringing the North Into the Fold

With a modicum of professional help and individual effort, homeowners in the coldest of climates can get in on the sustainable energy revolution by installing and benefiting from a solar power generating system. Even if you don’t have the space to fulfill all of your energy needs with clean, renewable solar energy, every little bit counts against climate change.

[Photo via: Flickr]