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Community and Q&A

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s 5-year study on solar panels in winter

Scott Wilson | Posted in General Questions on

This article discusses whether snow has much effect on the performance of solar panels.

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  1. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Here's another way to look at it: In northern climates, you don't make much electricity from a PV array during the winter months, because the sun is low in the sky, days are very short, and the weather is often cloudy. You make most of your electricity during the summer. So while snow is undesirable, it comes at a time of year when you aren't making much electricity -- and therefore the effect on annual electricity production is small.

    1. User avatar
      Stephen Sheehy | | #2

      Martin- that's exactly what I experience. I'm lucky to average about 10-12 kwh per day in winter, so losing days to snow cover doesn't mean much. Last winter was our worst in that I had about two dozen days with zero production due to snow. So maybe I lost 200-300 kwh. Annually we get about 8,000 kwh.

    2. T. Barker | | #5

      That is a very poor research report to say the least. Inconclusive data (what little there was) and random, meaningless analysis.

      Martin's summary above is far better advice than anything that can be concluded from that so-called report.

  2. User avatar
    Jon R | | #3

    Evidently not accounted for is that in off-grid cases, a watt-hour in Winter is worth much more than a watt-hour in summer.

    1. User avatar GBA Editor
      Martin Holladay | | #4

      You're absolutely right. That's why I'm outdoors with a long-handled broom after every snowfall.

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